LANSING, Mich. — A Michigan court has cleared the way for a trial or financial settlement in the case of a Lansing home that was destroyed when a utility worker used a blowtorch to thaw an outdoor spigot.

The employee worked for the Lansing Board of Water and Light. There’s no dispute that a house owned by Cora Hobbs-Jackson burned down and all her possessions were lost in February 2015.

The utility has governmental immunity in the case. But the state appeals court says a jury can decide whether the employee was grossly negligent.

The court notes that the employee had a fire extinguisher in her car but didn’t have it nearby when she used a blowtorch on the water spigot. The spigot was surrounded by combustible materials.

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