Articles Posted in Gas Can Explosions

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Gas cans—found in just about half of American homes–continue to injure and maim consumers. Despite industry and scientific knowledge concerning flame arresters and their ability to prevent “flash back” explosions, portable gasoline container retailers and manufacturers have not instituted flame arresters into the design of the portable gasoline container or recalled defective gas cans which do not contain flame arresters.

The Flynn Law Firm recently filed a gas can explosion lawsuit on behalf of a burn victim in Oregon. The lawsuit—against Wal-Mart–alleges that :

The subject gas can sold by Wal-Mart was defective and unsafe for its intended
purposes at the time it left control of the Defendant in that the gas can lacked any form of flame arrester, a necessary safety device that would have prevented the explosion and resulting injuries.

Prior to the incident that injured the Plaintiff, the Defendant knew or should have
known that gasoline containers that lack flame arresters are susceptible to flashback explosions.Wal-Mart was engaged in the business of designing, marketing, distributing and
selling the can to consumers within the stream of commerce. Wal-Mart marketed, distributed and sold the can that caused Plaintiff’s injuries.

Wal-Mart expected the can to ultimately reach the residential consumer and/or
user without substantial change in the condition in which it was originally sold. The subject gas can did in fact reach Plaintiff without a substantial change in the condition in which it was originally sold by Wal-Mart and unexpectedly failed under ordinary and foreseeable use. The can was not modified or altered after it left Defendant’s control, and Plaintiff was utilizing the can in a foreseeable and reasonable manner in which the can was reasonably expected to be used.

At the time the can left Defendant’s control, and at all times complained of herein,
safer alternative designs were available that would have eliminated the risk of the subject gas can exploding without substantially impairing the usefulness and intended purpose of the product.

The can was defective and unsafe for its intended purposes at the time it left
Defendant’s control in that design failed to include a flame arrestor device, which is a necessary safety device that would have prevented Plaintiff’s catastrophic burn injuries.

Wal-Mart knew or should have known of the can’s susceptibility to flashback and
explosion, which occurs when gasoline vapors outside the can ignite and the flames follow the vapor trail back into the can, causing and explosion of the can and a release of burning gasoline and vapors and/or a flame thrower effect where burning vapors and liquid explode out of the can.

The can was unreasonably dangerous and defective in its design and manufacture
because it did not incorporate a flame arrestor, a technologically and economically feasible safety device that would have prevented the explosion in the present case, thereby increasing the risk of an explosion. Wal-Mart failed to warn Plaintiff of the defective condition of the can and that cans such as the one Plaintiff purchased may explode if there is a flashback that follows the gasoline vapors back to the can.

A flame arrestor, sometimes called a flame arresting screen, flash arrestor or spark
arrestor, is a small metal device that is placed in a container’s openings and allows liquids to flow out of the container but prevents the flashback of flames back into the container. The device consists of either a perforated metal disk or a wire mesh screen.
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Heather Tyler, age 12, from Lakeland, Florida, was severely burned by a gas can explosion last month while standing near a bonfire. The gas can was apparently in the vicinity of the bonfire, emitted flammable gasoline vapors, and a slash fire started outside the can.

Because the gas can was not equipped with a 15 cent flame arrester, the external flash fire travelled into the gas can Heather was standing near, and caused that gas can to become, in essence, a bomb. 75 percent of Heather’s body was burned, and she is currently at Shriner’s Hospital in Cincinnati Ohio.

Gas can explosions are entirely preventable. Portable gas cans should have been equipped with a flame arrester to prevent flame propagation into the gas can. Blitz USA, the largest maker of gas cans, is in bankruptcy because of its gross negligence in failing to equip its cans with flame arresters. Scepter Canada and Midwest Can also made gas cans without flame arresters. ANY gas can without a flame arrester is defective.
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A Missouri gas can explosion victim who suffered third degree to his burns as a result of what is likely a defective gas can has, incredibly, been denied health benefits because his insurance company says he has a “pre-existing condition.” The explosion victim Darian Egan says he feels lucky to be alive and is working on recovery, but now will not be able to work or provide for his family. The denial of health benefits to Mr. Egan or any other burn injury victim is ridiculous and shows just how far the insurance industry will go to make money.
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