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Recall date: JULY 17, 2014
Recall number: 14-233

Name of product:
USB car charger adapters, power adapters and 8-pin charger cables.
Hazard:
Improperly mounted plug blades, and inadequate electronic circuitry create a fire and electrical shock hazard to consumers.
See full article at CPSC

The following is a response by a  CCAI member regarding the Electrolux Dryer Fire article that was posted on July 8, 2014.

 

I appeared in Federal Court in San Diego this year as the plaintiff’s witness in a subrogation case against Electrolux dryers.  The fire occurred in Fallbrook, CA 2008.  It involved a two story single family residence with the washer and dryer located on the second floor.  I was called to the scene to investigate the fire.

When I arrived, the Electrolux dryer was in the front yard and the top had been opened by the fire department.  I did my usual exterior and interior inspection and arrived at the laundry room.  The fire was confined to envelopment of the laundry room; with smoke damage extending out the laundry room door.

I inspected the room for all signs of ignition and found none.  I looked at the dryer exhaust.  I interview the insured and proceeded to the front lawn to inspect the dryer.

The dryer had very defined plum and burn patterns indicating the area of the fire’s origin within the dryer.  The Electrolux dryer cannot be accessed from the rear and therefore I did not remove any interior parts.  I took all necessary photographs.

The adjuster was on hand, and we discussed removal and storage of the dryer.  The adjuster said he would take charge of the dryer and make arrangements for storage.

When I was in trial, the defense attacked me, because I did not take photographs of the dryer exhaust on the side of the residence, second story.  Further, I did not photograph the interior of the exhaust line to see if it was plugged with lint.  I testified that the dryer exhaust opening, within the laundry room, appeared to be clear.  I testified that the dryer was the area of origin, and something within the dryer was the ignition source.  Not good enough.

The defense’s position was that the insured did not call a professional and have the lint removed; the dryer would need to be dissembled.  They also contended that the exhaust line may have been plugged with lint and thus lint backed up within the dryer further adding fuel and ultimately igniting.  The jury did not find enough evidence to suggest a design flaw with the dryer and therefore ruled in favor of Electrolux.

The trial I was in marks the fifth trial that Electrolux has won.  They claim the design of the dryer does not cause fires.  I strongly suggest that if anyone is investigating a dryer fire and especially Electrolux, be prepared to run a camera snake the full length of the exhaust line and take as much of the exhaust line as possible to be preserved as evidence along with the dryer.  In this case, I could not have taken the exhaust line without tearing into the wall.  However, even though the Electrolux dryer was the ignition source, the jury believed that Electrolux was not liable for the fire.

See Electrolux article here

Recall Date: July 10, 2014
Recall Number: 14-228

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Consumers should stop using this product unless otherwise instructed.  It is illegal to resell or attempt to resell a recalled consumer product.

Name of Product: Power adaptor/chargers (promotional giveaway)

Hazard: The adaptors can overheat, posing a burn hazard.

Read full recall report at CPSC

In the new issue of NFPA Journal®, President Jim Shannon said the Association will focus on the leading causes of home fires, including cooking. "We also need to continue to push hard for home fire sprinklers. That's still a large priority for NFPA, and we plan to work very aggressively in 2014 on our residential sprinkler initiative," he said.

Read more...

U.S. Fire Administration

Electricity is a basic part of residential life in the U.S.  It provides the energy for most powered items in a contemporary home, from lights to heating systems to television.  Today it is hard to imagine a residence without electricity.  It a part of our homes and our activities that most of us take for granted.  We rarely think how powerful electricity is.

Yet, using electricity can have dangerous consequences.  Electrical fires occur frequently throughout the U.S., causing injury, claiming lives, and resulting in large losses of property. From 2009 to 2011, an estimated 25,900 residential building electrical fires were reported by U.S. fire departments annually.

Read more...

Electrolux dryers are dangerously vulnerable to catching fire, according to complaints, consumer reports, and recent lawsuits.  Allegedly, some electric and gas models of Electrolux dryers contain a defect that allows lint to build up in areas unserviceable to owners and close to a heat source, posing a heightened risk of fire.  At least one previous lawsuit also points to a possible bearing failure that causes the drum to move and make contact with the rear heating element, creating sparks which may light lint and other flammable objects.

Read more...

November 10-12, 2014 Training Seminar

CCAI Training Seminar November 10 - 12, 2014  - Click here  for the registration form
Information about the seminar is coming soon.
 

White Paper-NHTSA

A Case Study of 214 Fatal Crashes Involving Fire.
Carl L. Ragland
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Hsi-Sheng Hsia
Research and Special Programs Administration
United States
Paper Number 9X-S4-O-08
Carl L. Ragland
National Highway Traffic Safety Administration
Hsi-Sheng HsiaResearch and Special Programs Administration
United States
Paper Number 9X-S4-O-08

ABSTRACT
A detailed case study of 214 fatal tire related 
crashes was conducted to determine whether the death was 
caused by the fire or blunt trauma. The cases were also 
examined to determine the specific crash conditions which 
caused the fire. This analysis was necessary because none 
of the existing fatal crash databases contained sufficient 
details to determine the impact configuration or the cause 
of death. Two hundred and ninety three (293) fatalities 
occurred in these crashes. Sixty-five (65) ofthese fatalities 
resulted from fire, with 30 of these fatalities from 16 rear 
impacts. The speed of impact was determined in eight of 
the 16 cases which caused these 30 burn fatalities. In these 
eight cases, the average rear impact speed was 54 mph with 
speeds ranging from 50 - 60 mph, at 7 1% overlap (7 1 % of 
the rear vehicle width engaged), and collinear at 6:00 
O’clock. By projecting these cases to the national sample, 
the number of rear impact fire related fatalities may be 
estimated between 94 and 191.

Wildfire Origin and Cause Investigation

Part 1

As the spring fire season approaches, fire investigators across the country will be responding to wildfires to conduct origin and cause investigations. In many jurisdictions, investigators are assigned to a type of investigation that is unfamiliar. During the response, the investigator may be thinking that it is no big deal, having already investigated hundreds of structure fires. How hard can a wildfire be? The answer is simple; you must be trained in wildfire investigation to understand the process.

Read more...

Part 2

In Part 2 of “Wildfire Origin and Cause Investigation,” we will continue to discuss the main points for the local fire investigator to focus on when conducting a wildfire investigation. Hopefully, last month’s article was an eyeopener for some local investigators to expand their education. The topics we will cover this month will be fire cause determination and fire cause categories/ignition sources. Investigators should become familiar with NFPA 921 and NWCG Wildfire Origin and Cause Determination Handbook.

Read more...

Zero-clearance fireplaces a main source of fires

Chief: Almost one-third of High Desert house fires caused by zero-clearance fireplaces

A Helendale house fire earlier this month that caused $50,000 in damages was the latest in a string of residential blazes to be traced to a zero-clearance fireplace, a County Fire official said.

Battalion Chief Warren Peterson blames zero-clearance fireplaces for roughly 30 percent of house fires responded to by San Bernardino County Fire.

Read more...

USDC Pennsylvania Permits Vaporizer Fire Case to Proceed to Trial

In MUTUAL BENEFIT INSURANCE COMPANY v. KAZ, INC.,Civil Action No. 1:12-CV-2108 (Feb. 20, 2014) at http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20FDCO%2020140221C81 was a civil action filed by plaintiff Mutual Benefit Insurance Company ("MBIC"), as subrogee of Betty and Allen Miller, alleging strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty against defendant Kaz, Inc. ("Kaz"). MBIC seeks reimbursement of monies paid pursuant to an insurance policy issued to the Millers, whose house was damaged in a fire. MBIC alleged that Kaz designed, manufactured, distributed, and sold a vaporizer that caused the fire. Presently before the court is Kaz's motion in limine to exclude the testimony of one of MBIC's submitted experts, Randolph Marshall of Marshall Forensic, LLC. For the following reasons, the court denied the motion.

Read more... 

The Six Motives for Firesetting

At any point during your career as a fire investigator you will be assigned to investigate an incendiary fire. When the investigator arrives on the scene, information about the incident will be coming from a variety of sources, including police, firefighters, witnesses and the occupants or owner. It is critical to sort all of the information and analyze it properly. During the investigation we must use critical thinking and ask many questions such as, why was this fire was deliberately set? Why was the home, business or vehicle the target of an arsonist? What was the motivation of the arsonist?

Read More...

More Articles...

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