On December 11, 2012, ESPN anchor Hannah Storm suffered first and second degree burns in an accident with a propane grill. The release of the pictures of the anchorwoman’s burn injuries on Yahoo Sports draws attention to the dangers of propane grill accidents.
Our Charlotte personal injury attorneys were glad to see that Storm has recovered after her propane grill accident and was back to hosting the Rose Parade on New Year’s. We urge everyone using a propane grill to look upon Storm’s accident as an important reminder of the dangers that a propane grill can present.
The Risks of Using a Propane Grill
Propane grills are a popular backyard item that many homeowners have for barbequing or cooking a quick meal. Unfortunately, propane grills are not harmless and they aren’t risk free. In fact, according to the National Fire Protection Association, approximately 6,900 house fires were caused by propane grills between 2005 and 2009.
Because propane grills require a fuel source — which normally takes the form of refillable liquid propane containers attached to the grill– a lot can go wrong. If there is a defect in the propane fuel container or in the grill itself, a gas leak can occur, pressure can build, gas could ignite and a devastating accident could happen.
Hannah Storm was the victim of just such an accident with her propane grill. The ESPN anchor was cooking dinner on her grill when she noticed that it had gone off. She turned off the grill and re-lit the gas, causing an explosion to occur. Flames roared into her face, burning off her eyebrows, her eyelashes and half of her hair. She also suffered first-degree burns on her face and on her neck and second degree burns on her chest as she tore off her burning shirt. The explosion from the grill accident was so loud and forceful that the doors were blown off the grill and her neighbor reported that it sounded like a tree had fallen through the house roof.
Avoiding Propane Grill Accidents
Although propane grills are inherently dangerous due to the risks associated with propane, they can be used safely when appropriate precautions are taken (and when do defects are present). These precautions need to be taken not just by homeowners and individuals using grills but also by grill manufacturers and by those who manufacture, sell or refill propane tanks. In fact, it is the manufacturers and distributors who are in the best position to avoid propane grill accidents by making sure that they do not release a dangerous or defective product to unsuspecting consumers.
Consumers can do their part in staying safe by following some tips provided by the National Propane Gas Association, which include making sure to use the grill outside in a well-ventilated space; following the instructions provided by the manufacturer and always having the manuals accessible; and storing all gas cylinders outside and upright. However, these steps only go so far and can’t protect users if there is a defect or problem with the grill or propane tank. As such, manufacturers and distributors are the ones who must ultimately take responsibility in ensuring the safety of propane grills for home use.
If you or a loved one has been injured by a defective product, contact the Carolina injury lawyers at Lee Law Offices today for a free and confidential appointment to discuss your rights. Call 800-887-1965. Serving all of the Carolinas, including Winston-Salem, Charlotte and North Wilkesboro.
Dangerous and Defective Products a Holiday Danger in the Carolinas, North Carolina Car Accident Lawyers Blog, November 15, 2012