Men Sue Over ACL Fire

Four men burned in a propane fire at the Austin City Limits Music Festival last year have sued, saying their injuries were caused by an overfilled and improperly manufactured propane tank and an improperly designed RV generator.

Dave Smith, Darryl Jackson, Stuart Givens and Kenny Burleson were burned in the September incident, one with burns over 40 percent of his body. All the men have returned to work, though they are still recovering.

The men and the company they work for, Brown Distributing, filed the lawsuit Tuesday in District Court in Travis County against various companies that leased and made the propane tank, as well as the manufacturer of the recreational vehicle.

The defendants include Evergreen RV Center, Coachmen Industries Inc., Coachmen Recreational Vehicle Co., Manchester Tank and Equipment, Rotarex and Harsco Corp. Attorneys for the companies named in the suit either refused to comment or could not be reached.

Two of the men who were burned were flown to Brooke Army Medical Center in San Antonio, said their lawyer, Jim Ewbank. Three of them probably will have permanent scarring, including one man who had the word “staff” burned into his back from the letters on his T-shirt, Ewbank said.

The men were working at the ACL Festival in Zilker Park for Brown Distributing, which was selling beer, when the fire started. They heard a hiss and smelled gas, so they opened a compartment on the right side of the recreational vehicle to move some food away from the smell, Ewbank said. A propane tank on the vehicle’s left side then ignited, he said.

“There was sort of like a flash of gas catching on fire, and it knocked them to the ground,” he said.

The lawsuit did not specify an amount of damages for the men because they are still receiving medical treatment, he said. The amount of damages specified for Brown Distributing is $219,658.64, he said.