Blair Robe Fire Results in Wrongful Death Lawsuit

The family of a woman who burned to death after her Blair chenille robe caught fire has filed a wrongful death lawsuit and product liability claim against Blair LLC, which has recalled more than 300,00 flammable chenille robes and other garments this year.

The Blair robe fire lawsuit was filed last week in U.S. District Court for the District of Connecticut by the family of Atwilda Brown, who was 80 years-old when she suffered fatal burn injuries in February 2005 after her chenille robe caught fire while she was making tea.

The complaint comes less than a week after Blair expanded a chenille robe recall issued in April 2009 for 162,000 robes, to include an additional 138,000 women’s chenille full-length robes, women’s chenille jackets, women’s chenille lounge jackets and women’s chenille tops.

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The original recall in April 2009 indicated that the company was aware of only three reports of the robes catching on fire, including one report of second-degree burns. New warnings were issued about the same robes in June 2009, after the company received reports of six people burning to death when the flammable robes caught fire. According to the latest statement issued October 22, the company has continued to receive reports of the garments catching on fire, including additional deaths and severe burns linked to the robes and other chenille clothing sold by the company.

A total of at least nine deaths have been attributed to the chenille robes catching fire. In most cases, the victims were elderly women who were cooking at the time of the fire. The clothing, made in Pakistan by A-One Textile & Towel, and was distributed by Blair through Blair Catalogs, online and from the company’s stores in Pennsylvania and Delaware.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has said that the clothing does not meet federal flammability standards.

According to the family’s wrongful death lawsuit, Brown’s robe had been purchased only three weeks before the fire. She died two weeks later in a hospital burn unit.

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