Family of Cristian Pineda 11-year-old boy who died in a frozen Texas trailer sues ERCOT for $100M
The family of an 11-year-old boy from Texas who froze to death after the family’s mobile home lost power during cold weather are suing the electricity companies involved to the tune of $100 million.
Cristian Pavon Pineda, 11, was found dead in his bed next to his younger brother Tuesday as temperatures plummeted into single digits and the family were unable to keep warm.
The lawsuit places the blame squarely at the region’s utility companies, Power grid operator ERCOT and electricity provider Entergy, holding them responsible for the tragedy.
The Pineda family are accusing the providers of gross negligence and say the companies ‘failed to warn people of the dangerous conditions and gave incomplete guidance to customers’.
The family of Cristian Pavon Pineda, an 11-year-old boy from Texas who ended up freezing to death after the family’s mobile home lost power during freezing weather last week are suing the electricity companies involved to the tune of $100 million
An 11-year-old Texas boy who was excited at seeing snow for the first time died of suspected hypothermia in his family’s mobile home just hours before Ted Cruz abandoned his state at the height of the storm crisis and jetted off on a luxury holiday to Cancun. Cristian Pavon Pineda pictured. A GoFundMe has been started by the family to help with burial costs
Cristian Pavon Pineda, 11, died Tuesday after his home in Conroe lost power at the weekend and temperatures plunged to single digits. Cristian had been excited to see snow for the first time Monday (pictured) after he moved to Texas from Honduras in 2019 to live with his mom
His devastated mother Maria Elisa Pineda told the Washington Post she went to check on him as he was huddled under a pile of blankets in bed and found him unresponsive. Pictured the trailer
Texas is the only state in the continental United States with an independent and isolated grid. It allows the state to avoid federal regulation – but also severely limits its ability to draw emergency power from other grids.
ERCOT, which operates the grid, saw 4.5 million of their customers without power during the cold snap.
There have been at least 30 deaths across the Lone Star State as a result of the extreme weather which also left people without potable drinking water.
President Biden declared a major disaster in the state and ensures federal funding is made available to individuals across the state, including assistance for temporary housing, home repairs and low-cost loans for losses on uninsured property.
Joe Biden‘s press secretary on Sunday confirmed the president may visit Texas ‘as soon as this week’.
Jen Psaki said the president is ‘eager’ to help but added: ‘He’s also very mindful of the fact that it’s not a light footprint for a president to travel to a disaster area. He does not want to take away resources or attention.
‘And we’re going to do that at an appropriate time in coordination with people on the ground. Could be as soon as this week,’ she said.
Houston Mayor Sylvester Turner told CBS’ Face the Nation that Biden can come anytime.
‘We certainly would welcome him,’ Turner said.
Other tragic deaths have been detailed this weekend. Three young siblings died alongside their grandmother in a house blaze after using a fireplace to keep warm.
Olivia, center, Edison, left, and Colette, right, Nguyen and their grandmother Le Loan, 75, died in the early hours of Tuesday morning during the blackouts
Firefighters were called out around 2 am and tackled the blaze but the four victims were confirmed dead. The children’s mom Jackie Nguyen and a friend were also injured and taken to hospital
Olivia, Edison and Colette Nguyen and their grandmother Le Loan, 75, died in the early hours of Tuesday morning at their Sugar Land home in during the statewide blackouts.
It is unclear how the fire started or the fuel being used; the fireplace was downstairs, the home’s bedrooms upstairs.
The children’s aunt, Vanessa Kon, told The Daily Beast: ‘We don’t know what happened. We don’t know why the lights went out like that. The city should have been prepared for it. Why was the power off? If the power wasn’t off, this wouldn’t have happened.’
Olivia was 11, Edison, 8, and Colette was 5.
Firefighters were called out around 2 am and tackled the blaze but the four victims were confirmed dead. The children’s mom Jackie Nguyen and a friend were also injured and taken to hospital.
The family had been without power at their Sugar Land home for eight hours when the fire broke out.
Another man reportedly froze to death in his recliner chair with his ‘nearly dead’ wife by his side and a mother and daughter died from carbon monoxide poisoning as they bundled in their car in a garage.
Two older men were also found dead in their homes in the small West Texas town of Buffalo Gap in Taylor County, officials said.
The family had been without power at their Sugar Land home for eight hours when the fire broke out
Senator Ted Cruz has been mocked for sharing photos of himself handing out bottled water in a ‘shameless’ photo-op just days after he jetted off to Cancun with his family.
Late on Saturday night Cruz posted a series of pictures of himself on Twitter showing him delivering water to those in need together with the hashtag #TexasStrong.
The senator was forced to return from his Mexican beach resort vacation while millions of fellow Texans were left dealing with horrendous conditions.
The water shortage is affecting hospitals across the south. At one, workers stood outside to collect rainwater. Others stood in line at a running tap in a park.
Senator Ted Cruz tweeted a photo op late on Saturday night with the hashtag #TexasStrong. It only served to generate further anger online from those furious at the senator’s recent behavior that saw him leave Texas for the beach in the midst of a crisis
It comes after Cruz decided to take take a trip to Cancun while his state was in crisis – he returned after a day
At the height of last week’s storm, hospitals scrambled to care for patients amid record cold temperatures.
The icy blast ruptured water mains and contributed to at least 76 deaths nationwide. At least seven people died in Tennessee and four in Portland, Oregon.
A rural hospital in Anahuac, Texas, about 50 miles east of Houston, lost both water and power.
William Kiefer, CEO of Chambers Health, which runs the hospital along with two clinics and a wellness center, said the facilities resorted to backup generators and water from a 275-gallon storage tank. They refilled it three times using water from a swimming pool in the wellness center.
When temperatures were in the teens last Monday, a woman about to give birth walked into the hospital after she could not make it through the ice and snow to her hospital in suburban Houston. Emergency room staff delivered the baby safely, Kiefer said.
The City of Fort Worth Water Department with the assistance of volunteers from other city departments distributed bottled water at R.D. Evans Recreation Center on Sunday. Water was supplied to the public because numerous main breaks and the boil water mandate caused by the severe cold weather which effected North Texas in the past week
Volunteers organize a line to pass out cases of bottled water to desperate western Travis County, Texas residents out of tap water for several days due to last week’s devastating Texas snowstorm
Drivers were only allowed one case per car after some waiting three hours on Sunday in Oak Hill, Austin
Volunteers including Elie Sierra pass out cases of bottled water to desperate drivers in Travis County, Texas
Volunteers including Ann Howard help to pass out cases of bottled water
Volunteer Elizabeth Murray helps hand water to local residents at Butler Stadium on Sunday after the city of Houston implemented a boil water advisory following an unprecedented winter storm in Houston
Volunteers deliver water to local residents in vehicles at Butler Stadium after an unprecedented winter storm in Houston
More volunteers are pictured delivering water to local residents in their cars at Houston’s Butler Stadium
‘It would have taken her another two hours to get to the suburban Houston hospital if our facility wasn’t there,’ he said. ‘We can probably assume she would have had the baby in her car and the snow. Not a good situation.’
Water was restored Thursday, and operations had returned to normal on Sunday, he said. The health system plans to look into installing more sophisticated backup systems, he said.
Houston Methodist Hospital spokeswoman Gale Smith said water had been restored at two community hospitals in the system, which was dealing with an influx of dialysis patients after their local centers closed, she added.
After temperatures plunged as much as 40 degrees below normal last week, the forecast for the Houston area called for a high of 65 degrees on Sunday. The city lifted its boil-water advisory on Sunday afternoon.
About 30,000 Texans were still without power due to downed power lines and other equipment failures. Governor Greg Abbott said during a news conference that he expected all service to be restored by Sunday night or Monday.
Texas flags fly near an electrical substation on Sunday in Houston, Texas. Millions of Texans lost their power when winter storm Uri hit
The storm knocked out coal, natural gas and nuclear plants that were unprepared for the freezing temperatures. Even wind turbines that provide an estimated 24 percent of energy to the state became inoperable when they froze
Ambulances line up outside of St. David’s South Austin Medical Center in preparation to transport patients in Austin, Texas, on last Wednesday. Earlier in the day, hospital officials said some patients at the facility would be moved to other hospitals in the area after the building began losing heat due to low water pressure
Russell Brown walks away in the snow after being discharged from St. David’s South Austin Medical Center in Austin, Texas, on Thursday. Brown was discharged from the hospital that was evacuating some patients after it ran out of water and lost heat
Ba Le fills up a container of water at the Georgetown Community Center on Friday in Austin, Texas. The community center opened its door for people in need of clean water due to a ‘boil water notice’ that many Texans were experiencing. The first day Georgetown Community Center opened its doors, 49 different families came in need of water
Abbott also said he was concerned about the threat of massive electric bills after wholesale energy prices skyrocketed while power plants were offline. He said it would be the ‘top priority’ for the Legislature, and he vowed not to end the legislative session until lawmakers ensure that the state’s power grid is retrofitted to handle extreme winter and summer weather.
Nearly 230,000 customers across the South were still without power as of Sunday, according to PowerOutage.us, a website that tracks power outages. Other large blackouts were in Mississippi, West Virginia, Kentucky and Oregon.
Memphis, Tennessee, saw 10 inches of snow last week. Memphis, Light, Gas & Water issued a boil-water advisory on Thursday out of concern that low water pressure caused by problems at aging pumping stations and water main ruptures could lead to contamination. The advisory was still in place Sunday; utility officials said they did not know when they might lift it.
About 260,000 homes and businesses were under the advisory. Hospitals and nursing homes have been forced to switch to bottled water. The Tennessee National Guard was supplying St. Francis Hospital with water.
Shoppers are seen wandering next to near empty shelves in a supermarket in Houston, Texas following winter storm Uri
The Houston Food Bank is pictured Sunday. Joe Biden’s press secretary on Sunday confirmed the president may visit Texas ‘as soon as this week’
Volunteers prepare to load food into cars during the Houston Food Bank food distribution at NRG Stadium on Sunday. Thousands of people lined up to receive food and water at a mass distribution site for Houston residents who are still without running water and electricity following winter storm Uri
Nearby Baptist Memorial Hospital took on some of St. Francis’ patients, particularly those who need dialysis, said Dr. Jeff Wright, a pulmonary and critical care physician at Baptist. That hospital has a water purification system for dialysis and has water reserves for tasks such as cooking and bathing patients, he said.
‘We have gallon jugs of water that were already stocked and ready to roll on day one,’ Wright said.
Methodist Le Bonheur Healthcare also reported problems at some of its Memphis-area facilities due to water pressure problems and the boil advisory. The system is using tanker trucks to boost water pressure and relying on help from facilities that have not been affected.
City officials planned to distribute water bottles at several locations Sunday. Grocery stores struggled to keep shelves stocked with bottled water. Many restaurants remained closed.
In Washington, the White House said about a third of the COVID-19 vaccine doses delayed by the storm were delivered over the weekend.
The weather created a backlog of about 6 million doses as power outages closed some vaccination centers and icy weather stranded vaccine in shipping hubs. White House press secretary Jen Psaki told ABC’s This Week that about 2 million of those doses have gone out.
Texas Rep. Michael McCaul told CNN’s State of the Union that federal disaster relief can be used to repair burst pipes and flood damage and to help Texans hit with skyrocketing energy bills.
McCaul also criticized fellow Republican Sen. Ted Cruz’s decision to take his family on vacation amid the crisis.
‘When a crisis hits my state, I’m there,’ McCaul said. ‘I’m not going to go on some vacation. I know Mr. Cruz called it a mistake, and he’s owned up to that. But I think that was a big mistake.’
Indeed, the state´s Republican leadership has been blamed for ignoring warnings that winter could wreak the havoc that it did, and for not providing local officials with enough information to protect residents now.
Power outages spiraled through the day Monday, ultimately cutting off more than 4 million people. Grocery stores shut down, and hotel rates skyrocketed.
Things got worse Tuesday; by Wednesday, some started to get their power back, but a new shortage emerged – drinkable water.
Frozen pipes burst across the state and the water that did come out of taps was often undrinkable due to dangerously low water pressure levels.
At one point, an estimated 13 million people were under a boil-water order, nearly half of Texas´ population.
At week´s end, as the cold weather began to loosen its grip, the power came back for most Texans.
But the effects linger: Some Texans on variable-rate power contracts faced electric bills in the thousands of dollars, leading the governor to hold an emergency meeting Saturday with lawmakers.
As Heidi marched out of the Houston airport with her kids and an unidentified boy – all of whom were wearing masks – at 6pm on Saturday night, DailyMail.com asked her several questions, all of which she refused to answer
Heidi Cruz wife of Texas Senator Ted Cruz arrives back in Houston from Cancun, Mexico with her children in tow