Articles Posted in Fire & Burn Injuries

A trial in South Georgia concerning the death of a four year old boy is renewing debate over Jeep safety. Remington Walden died in the backseat of his family’s 1999 Jeep Grand Cherokee when the car erupted in flames after being rear-ended at an intersection. The family’s lawyers allege that the carmaker has long been aware of the fatal defects that caused the child’s tragic and painful death, including the fuel tank placement just 11 inches from the rear bumper.

BCCN reported in October of 2009 that the Jeep Grand Cherokee fuel tank was 400% more likely to cause a fire and endanger or kill the vehicle’s occupants than other SUVs.  The Center for Auto Safety had at the time asked the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration to recall all such cars made between 1993-2004, asserting that data showed that these cars were 4 times more likely to result in a fatal fire during a crash than other sport utility vehicles. The government currently links at least 70 deaths to these vehicles’ defects.

Fiat Chrysler recalled more than 1.5 million vehicles, including all 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty models as well as the ones suggested years earlier by the Center, under government pressure in June 2013. The company continues to insist that the vehicles met safety requirements at the time they were built, and that they were not defective. Sergio Marchionne, Fiat Chrysler Automobiles CEO, stated in a deposition that the company believes that the cars are no more susceptible to fire than other SUVs.


Chrysler is gearing up to recall approximately 1.6 million Jeep Grand Cherokees and Jeep Libertys in an attempt to lower the risk of fires caused by read-end collisions. The recall is expected to come after the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration asserted that the Chrysler Jeep vehicles were more likely than other vehicles to catch on fire when struck from the rear. The NHTSA contends that the gas tanks on these vehicles are directly behind the rear axle, causing them to be more exposed to rear-impact collisions.

Despite denying the NHTSA’s allegations, Chrysler will recall the Jeep vehicles in order to install trailer hitches, which it hopes will protect fuel tanks and thus lower the chance of fires. The recall will affect 1993-1998 Jeep Grand Cherokees and 2002-2007 Jeep Liberty SUVs. Chrysler plans to notify the owners of these vehicles by sending letters.

Still, many consumer groups doubt how effective a trailer hitch will be at reducing the risk of fires. Many doubts stem from the testimony of Chrysler’s previous vice president for engineering, Francois J. Castaing, who stated during a wrongful death suit involving a Grand Cherokee rear impact fire that a trailer hitch would not protect the tank from fire.

The Consumer Products Safety Commission reannounced the recall of around 795,000 Sears Kenmore brand dehumidifiers. The hazard is that they can overheat, melt and catch fire resulting in injuries and property damage.

The remedy is to immediately stop using the product and return it for a refund. More info about the recall can be found at the CPSC’s website here.

Newport Fire Officials are reporting that a natural gas explosion started a fire that completely destroyed a home in northern Kentucky early Friday morning. Debri and various pieces of the home were scattered across the street and stuck in nearby trees. The only things left were the foundation and the chimney. The neighboring homes did not appear to have any damage.

Three people were in the house at the time of the fire, which broke out around 4:30 a.m. Two of them were taken to University Hospital in Cincinnati to be treated for injuries. One was listed in critical condition.


Bose Corporation, a company whose products are recognized as the gold standard in electronics, has issued a recall of its Dual-Voltage CineMate II Home Theater Speaker System. The specific models are the CineMate Series II and CineMate GS Series II with product ID nos. 051365, 051470 or 057971.

The concern is that the bass module can fail and ignite. More information on the recall can be found here.

A flash fire broke out where workers were repairing the damaged tracks caused by the train derailment that occurred earlier this week. A firefighter reported that the workers were using a cutting torch when “the arc flashed” and caused a spark that ignited butadiene vapors from one of the cars. Five workers were injured, but two suffered only minor injuries. The other three sustained severe second and third degree burns, leaving one in very critical condition, another in critical condition and the third in serious condition.

An evacuation was ordered for all those living within 1.2 miles of the fire. A “code red alert” was also issued to anyone within a 5 mile radius of the fire. This means that they were asked to stay inside their homes and businesses, close all windows and keep pets inside.

The fire is under control but is still burning as of this morning. Officials stated that the fire must burn itself out because putting water on the vapors could be dangerous and toxic to surrounding soil.

On September 12, 2012, an apartment fire at the Churchill Park Apartments located at 7218 Hill Park Way sent three to the hospital, including a Louisville Metro police officer and a one-month old baby. A resident of the apartment complex, JoAnn Simpson, said she heard a loud boom just before the fire broke out in a first-floor apartment.

Simpson and her husband were trapped inside their apartment until they were rescued by another resident, Tyler Dixon, and his friend, Eric Durbin. Durbin also hopped a fence to get a ladder to rescue another resident from her second-floor apartment.

The Louisville Metro police officer was the first to arrive on scene and suffered smoke inhalation while trying to warn residents of the apartment complex. The officer was transported to Baptist Hospital East, but his condition was not immediately known. The McMahan fire department was the lead agency fighting the fire and was assisted by firefighters from St. Matthews, Jeffersontown and Lyndon.

The United States Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) has issued numerous recalls for heaters that are used in the home. As we enter colder weather and start using these devices to heat our homes, consumers should be up-to-date and aware of any potential hazards that a recalled heater might pose.

A list of the the heaters, with model numbers and pictures, are listed at the CPSC’s website here. Many of the heaters have been recalled in years past, but it is important to double-check the list if you use a similar product in your home. Many of the recalled models pose electrical and fire hazards so be sure to check and make sure your family is safe this winter.

Two people were killed Sunday by an apartment fire in the Portland neighborhood. The fire occurred on the 300 block of North 24th Street. Two dozen firefighters responded to the blaze and had it under control in about ten minutes. However, the firefighters found two persons dead inside the apartment. Reports indicate that the ceiling had collapsed in on the victims.

The bodies of two dead people have been found in a single story apartment in the Portland neighborhood of Louisville earlier this evening. The fire happened on the 300 block of North 24th street at about 6:25 p.m. Neighbors report that an elderly couple lived in the apartment, but the identities of the two bodies are not yet known. However, a neighbor who bravely attempted to enter the apartment and search for anyone inside told police that he had seen the elderly gentleman who lived in the apartment return home about ten minutes before the fire started. Leonard apparently risked his own life in an attempt to get into the building and saw what appeared to be a man burning on the floor, but was unable to save him.

Apartment fires, whether they are in single story units or massive, multi-story complexes often involve similar legal issues. This seems to be a sad outcome as it is usually easier for residents of one and even two story complexes to get to safety when compared to apartments with many more stories. However, every fire behaves differently and the size of the structure is only one of many factors to consider in determining the cause and preventability of fire deaths. To find out more about the legal issues involved in apartment complex fires see our earlier posts here, here and here. Attorney Brian D. Cook at Bahe Cook Canltey & Jones PLC would be happy to answer any questions you might have about the legal aspects of apartment fires.