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Linda Chalat
Linda Chalat
Attorney • (866) 735-1102 Ext 366

Do You Have a Gas Bomb at Home?

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Consumer Product Safety Commission data shows that about 3 children under age 5 die and more than 2,000 are treated in hospital emergency rooms each year from a variety of incidents involving gasoline. The data shows that some 27 percent of the injuries are from thermal burns.

Experts agree that a flame arrestor, "a safety device to prevent flashback of the flames into a fuel container and the subsequent explosion and shooting of the flames and burning gasoline" would prevent many of the burns resulting from ignited gasoline cans. Fumes outside the gas can ignite as you pour or fill, a flashback fire is possible that could ignite the contents of the can itself. But these accidents can be prevented by a flame arrester, a piece of wire mesh costing less than a dollar. Yet America’s largest manufacturer of plastic gas cans, Blitz USA, chose cost-cutting over safety.

Plastic gas cans represent 95 percent of all gas cans sold in America, or an estimated 19 million per year. Blitz USA, the manufacturer accounting for 75 percent of all U.S. sales, does not include a flame arrester in their plastic gas cans. Some companies chose to make safer products such as The No-Spill gas can, http://www.nospill.com/. But David Jones, counsel for Blitz USA, said on a 2008 episode of Dan Rather Reports: “All of these accidents can be avoided if the consumers heed the warnings, if they use common sense with respect to gasoline.”

The facts do not support Blitz: Rob Jacoby was walking with a Blitz gas can on a crisp Oregon day when a static electric discharge from his body caused the can to detonate. Chad Funchess, was filling up his chain saw when his Blitz gas can erupted and engulfed him in an inferno. And William Melvin, a member of a Porsche racing team pit crew was refueling his lawnmower when his Blitz gas can exploded and threw him though his barn.

Flame arresters were invented 200 years ago and are used today on everything from water heaters, charcoal lighter fluid and even Baccardi 151 rum. Flame arresters have also been used in gas cans for 100 years and have effectively prevented explosions. But Blitz USA deliberately left out flame arresters to save on manufacturing expenses, even after more than 75 reported cases of burn victims were filed.

Making a dangerous and defective product is not good business, and now Blitz has floundered into bankruptcy. But instead of accepting responsibility for the damage done by its product, Blitz has run to the U.S. Chamber of Commerce to publicly complain about the abusive trial lawyers – still demonstrating no concern for the burn victims. For those advocating consumer safety, we say good riddance! If you have a Blitz gas can, consider replacing it. Be certain to use a gas can with a flame arrestor, and consider a metal can rather than plastic. More tips for the safe handling of gasoline from Stop Gas Fires:

  • Never use gas to start a fire. Parents who mix gas and fire put themselves — and anyone nearthem — at risk of injury or death. Kids also learn by example.
  • Talk to your kids about gasoline. Teenager Austin Bailiff nearly died in a gas fire. Share his video with your child at www.StopGasFires.org.
  • Keep gas out of reach of children. Out of sight isn’t enough, for any age. Store your gasoline where children cannot access it. Many parents keep their gas in a locked location.
  • Use a proper container. Never use old soda bottles or other makeshift containers to store gas;someone might think it’s a beverage and drink it. And even a small cup of gasoline can emit vapors and may ignite.
  • Store gasoline in a well-ventilated area outside your vehicle and living space. Consider a detached garage or outdoor storage shed.
  • Keep gas away from any source of heat, spark or flame. Even common household appliances like water heaters and clothes dryers can ignite gas vapors.
  • Read the warning label on your gas can. A list of safety precautions is imprinted on every approved portable gasoline container. Make sure you read the warnings if you store gasoline at home.
  • Visit StopGasFires.org for more information and to help spread the word to other parents.

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  1. Lou says:
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    The trial bar attacks any business it thinks will cough up money in its raids. The latest victim is Blitz USA who make thoses red plastic gasoline cans. Blitz has been making gas cans for close to 50 years now and just recently the money hungry lawyers targeted them. These trial lawyers hit on an idea with trial-lawyer logic: They could sue Blitz when someone poured gas on a fire (for instance, to rekindle the flame) and the can exploded, alleging that the explosion is the result of defects in the can’s design as opposed to simple misuse of the product. The lawsuits began flooding in last year after a few big payouts.
    The tort-lawsuit riders leading the assault on Blitz included attorneys Hank Anderson of Wichita Falls, Texas; Diane Breneman of Kansas City, Missouri; and Terry Richardson of Barnwell, South Carolina. All told, they’ve been involved in more than 30 lawsuits against Blitz in recent years. The rest of the plastic-can industry can’t be far behind, so long as there’s any cash flow available.
    Hurricane season is here, and the demand for gas cans rises around 30%. If consumers can’t find the cans, fuel will be carried around in heavy metal containers or in dangerous alternatives, such as coolers.
    One of the law suits was due to a man living in a trailer with his children. He removed the lid of the gas can and layed it on his front porch (which would mean a flame arrestor would not have helped anyway). He then brought the gas can in to his home filling his trailer with gas fumes. He then carried his can filled with gasoline to his wood burning stove and poured gasoline on the fire. This is what caused the explosion! Not the gas can! The fumes also caught fire as it would in any case involving gasoline in an enclosed building. He and his little girl both caught on fire. He first put the flames out on his little girl and then ran outside (alone) to put the flames out on himself. Instead of getting his children out he left them in the burning building. Even after he put the flames out on himself, he didn’t go in for his children, he ran to a nearby river so he could jump in it to relieve his pain. Only when he realized that the river was frozen, did he go back to his house. The little girl did not make it out of the burning house. His other child who was there did make it out with minor injuries. Yes, this is a horrific tragedy and every single person at Blitz USA are human beings with feelings just like anyone else in the world. How dare you say they did not show any concern. Everyone felt concern for this innocent little girls life. Because Blitz defended itself in court does not even come close to you being so pig headed as to say they showed no concern. Seems you lawers are the ones who show no concern for anyone or anything other than linning your pockets with as much money as you can squeeze out of businesses. Taking jobs from so many American people who did absolutly nothing wrong at all except go to work everyday to support their families and community. You have taken this away and show no concern what so ever. This father made a terrible mistake by not adhearing to the (over 31 warnings) on the gas can or putting in to use what he has surely been taught all his life, gasoline and fire do not mix and never will mix. Another thing just fyi: A flame arrestor is not required when there is no spark or flame, ie a filling station has no flame arestor. Will you go after them next if someone blows up because they are standing there smoking while pumping gas or talking on their cell phones? More than likely you absolutely will! All the gas cans I have ever seen specifically state do not use near flame or spark among so many other warnings. “The fact of the matter is there is no device that can make it safe to pour gasoline on a fire,”. If you are so sure a flame arrestor would stop a gas can from exploding while you pour fuel on to an open flame, prove that! It’s not a matter of spending the amount that would be required to add them to all fuel containers, it has never been shown that a flame arrestor would help at all in a case where product MISUSE is at fault. Do you realize the millions of gas cans that Blitz has sold to consumers including the military? How many of the multi millions of people who purchased these containers blew themselfves up or hurt themselves or loved ones? I have used Blitz cans for 40 years or more and have never had a problem. So have the multi millions of people in this world. Our country needs to stop these lawyers from cashing in on frivolous law suits such as this. There is not one business out there in America who is safe from these money hungry attornies and if we don’t do something now to stop them, we may all be out of work because of business having to defend themselves. Please people, we need to start standing up and demanding justice for our businesses.

    Fyi, the Consumer Product Safety Commission has never deemed Blitz’s products unsafe.