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.
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.
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.
Tom Campuzano, our good friend and a dedicated California Conference of Arson Investigators Board member, passed away in 1999. Tom served on the Board of Directors for CCAI from 1995 until his passing. He became very active during the 1995 IAAI Conference, which was hosted by CCAI in the City of Los Angeles. He had decided, after much persuasion, to work his way through the chairs in CCAI. He had announced that he would accept the nomination for the office of Second Vice President, which he would have assumed in January of 2000 in San Luis Obispo.
Shortly after his passing, the Board of Directors established the "Tom Campuzano Memorial Scholarship Fund." The goal of the fund is to promote, recognize, and foster dedicated service in the field of Fire Investigation. The fund will be financed through donations, with a recurring donation of $1,000 per year by Attorney Sandy Burnette.
This notice is being posted in hopes that some in-need fire investigator out there may be interested in attending the next CCAI Conference, compliments of the Tom Campuzano Memorial Scholarship Fund. The CCAI Board of Directors will award a $500.00 scholarship for each seminar to a worthy investigator who may not otherwise be able to attend either of the semi-annual seminars.
"CAMPY" Scholarship applicants can be either public or private fire investigators. Applicants must provide documentation indicating that their employer does not have funding available for the conference. "Campy" scholarships are limited to one awardee per conference. The "Campy" scholarship award is $500. This scholarship funding can be applied toward:
1) Membership registration (if not a current member) 2) Conference registration 3) Hotel lodging 4) Meal expenses 5) Travel expenses
Go here to print and fill out the application .
Please contact me with regard to any questions, comments orÂ suggestions.
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