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Gas Can Lawsuit Filed Over Explosion Caused by Lack of Flame Arrestor

  • Written by: AboutLawsuits
  • 7 Comments

Three men who suffered severe injuries and burns when a portable gas can exploded, have filed a product liability lawsuit against the manufacturer, alleging that the plastic container should have had a flame arrestor to prevent the flames from flashing back into the can.

The gas can lawsuit was filed on February 17, 2009, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Texas, Marshall Division, against Blitz USA, which manufactures a variety of plastic fuel containers.

The plaintiffs, A.J. McSwain, Chris Gaddy and Chris Raymond, were all in their 20s when a Blitz portable gas can exploded on February 9, 2008, causing flames and burning gasoline to shoot onto them. As a result of the gas can explosion, the men were left with permanent scarring and debilitating injuries.

The complaint alleges that the gas can was unreasonably dangerous and defectively designed, because it did not contain a safety device known as a flame arrester which would have prevented the flashback of the flames into the gas can and the subsequent explosion.

Gas can flame arrestors are an inexpensive safety feature, which usually costs under 50 cents to add to a container. They have small holes within the gas spout, which prevents flames from entering the containier.

The “technology” has been around for over 200 years, as they were first used to prevent explosions when coal miners carrying lanterns encountered pockets of gas within the mine. They are currently found on a number of different products, including certain bottles of Bacardi Rum.

According to the Southeast Texas Record, Blitz USA participated in a U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) task group on flame arrestors in 2007.

In prior gasoline can lawsuits, manufacturers have faced claims over inadequate warnings and design defects for failing to include safety features like flame arrestors, child resistant caps and closures to reduce the risk of spills.

In January 2009, the Children’s Gasoline Burn Prevention Act went into effect, requiring all gas cans sold in the United States to contain child resistant caps. The law was enacted in July 2008, to close a loophole in prior legislation involving the sale of containers with flammable liquids.

Until the legislation went into effect, many gas can makers were not including the child safety caps, arguing that their cans did not fall under the prior safety laws since they are sold empty.

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7 comments

  1. gunsho11b Reply

    just ordered some good old fashoned Military issue gas cans off of ebay. Tell me Nanny State, what are you going to do about it? Its pretty bad when you cant even buy gas cans in this country without haveing some type of govenment regulation on them.

  2. Henry Reply

    Thank you for your kind attention.

    I see where you are representing some of those who had a burn mishap with a Blitz container.

    I see where a lot of people are doing the same.

    I am offering this information in hopes it will help your efforts.

    I have discovered a serious hazard that these cans pose (I have a sketch describing the condition upon request via email).

    I have contacted the Blitz company but I was blown off.

    I have contacted the Consumer Product Safety Commission three times with no response:

    This is the message that I have been sending:

    “On Saturday the tenth of April, 2010 I purchased a Blitz USA 5 Gallon Enviro-Flow Gas Can from a Sears Store in Morehead City, NC. When I tried using it I found it to leak profusely from the spout area. Fortunately no fire ensued.

    When I examined the spout I found that there were three small bleed holes penetrating the wall of the spout.

    It is definitely an unbelievable design defect.

    I also found the same style gas can on sale at the Morehead City, NC Lowes Store.

    Blitz has a number of suits against it for these spouts causing fires but only certain of the Enviro-Flow spouts are mentioned (the 2-3 gallon cans with the green handle, the can I purchased was a 5 gallon and had a black handle.

    The condition exists on all Enviro-Flow spouts, on whatever size can.

    These cans are on shelves everywhere, no more than a short drive from wherever you are. If the nozzle has the baffle with the two holes, then the baffle is covering the three leakers I mention.

    In order to view them from the inside surface of the spout you must remove the valve assembly.

    From the outside of the spout the holes can be viewed through two holes in the baffle, but the trigger and valve assy. must be removed.

    These cans are deadly, and I’m on a search for someone who will do something about it.”

    If you think about it for a while pouring flammable liquid on a fire (Not bright, but not uncommon either, like squirting a can of fire starter) will cause a flare up but hardly ever will the flame propagate up the stream and into the container to cause an
    explosion.

    But see the air cavity that I have described. It will allow flame to enter the cavity containing fuel and fumes, which will cause the can to explode.

    If you are interested I suggest getting someone with a strong grip and tearing off the handle (to better see into the two holes in the baffle, just below the handle).

    Then get a pair of diagonal cutters and clip off the retainer restraining the spring.

    This will free the stem and valve for viewing the interior of the spout where you will see three 1/16″ diameter holes penetrating the wall of the spout and into the cavity, which has two holes for the fuel and fumes to escape to atmosphere..

    The handle on the 5 gallon can that I purchased had a black handle and the spout was marked with Model #900900.

    I hope my information is useful.

  3. muhammed Reply

    my friend is a bout to be charges with homicide when he actually was trying to make the fire bigger and aloud explosion happened burning 90% of his daughter’s body and then she died .. he tried to explain to the detective that he was pouring gas into a small flame in afire pit when suddenly afire ball came out and his daughter who wasn’t far away caught on fire ,
    could the red can be the reason , i mean there was no arresters on the spout of the can .

  4. AJ Reply

    How about not being a dumbass, and not pouring gas on a FIRE!!!! Really?!?! Gas, fire, hmmmm. They don’t exactly mix, now do they?
    What ever hapen to common sense? What, let’s sue the mfg’s of plates and forks, casue they made me fat! People can be so stupid. The courts are even worse for not recognizing acts of stupidity!

  5. joni Reply

    where can you purchase a flame arrestor? what store or where on line

  6. Katie Reply

    I would like to sue my trash can manufacturer because the container was not reasonably fire proof… Don’t they know that people like to throw things out when they catch on fire? Seriously, flame retardant coatings have been around for years!
    I would like to sue my auto manufacturer because they didn’t label the vehicle with a warning that said I could get hurt if I crashed into a tree…
    I would like to sue Doritos because I shoved them in my mouth and a sharp corner cut me…
    I would like to sue every company that has made any product that I have ever used stupidly and hurt myself with.
    Do you realize how dumb that argument is? They didn’t have a feature that would make something that it expressly says NOT TO DO a wee bit safer? And now all those people are out of jobs because these kids flunked out of Boy Scouts? Because they thought it would be a good idea to pour gasoline on a fire? How about you get your lazy ass up and get some tinder. Build your fire like a real man, not like an idiot.

  7. Dan Reply

    I really see what some of you are saying and agree that pouring gas on a fire is dumb. That being said look at the example Muhammad posted should that guys daughter be dead because he was stupid, it’s not like she had her face in the fire she was close to six feet away and the gas can shot flames and gas on her because there was no flame arrestor. My daughter at 17 years old was standing outside with her boyfriend across on the other side of the fire and he decided to pour gas on a fire and she caught on fire because flames shot out of the can on her. Her life has been changed seriously from these actions had the plastic container had a flame arrestor which would have cost the company what a dollar more? this would not have happened to these children and that’s the point they knew there was a problem and did nothing about it.

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