The arrival of wintertime can bring some unwelcomed guests: cold temperatures, snow and ice, but one “guest” that you may not have counted on is the increased risk of fire.
Statistics and local headlines show that when Old Man Winter comes in, the risk of fire goes up. The primary culprit is the widespread use of kerosene heaters, but the problem goes beyond that. It’s just obvious when temperatures go down, people resort to different appliances to keep warm, to add humidity and for other reasons. While the vast majority of fires started by these appliances arise from user error, quite a few are the result of defective products. The results can be devastating. Just note these headlines:
January 7, 2014: Man injured in house fire on Johnstown Road in Chesapeake. Fire marshal to investigate.
January 8, 2014: Family of four displaced by house fire on Beechwood Road.
January 10, 2014: An 83-year old woman is overcome by smoke in her home on Devan Street in Norfolk and ultimately dies.
Note that fire does not discriminate. Personal injury, property damage, commercial enterprises, and residences: nothing is safe in the face of a blaze. One of the best things you can do is to buy UL–listed electrical appliances and be sure that they are powered with appropriate electric cords. Always follow the warnings and advice listed in the owner’s manual and keep it handy after the date of purchase. Be attentive to product warnings and recalls (a good website to check on recalls is www.cpsc.gov/en/recalls). Always have an evacuation plan and keep a fire extinguisher handy. The rules for commercial establishments are far more detailed. If you have questions, your local fire marshal is a good resource.
Finally, if you believe injuries or property damage have been the result of a defective product, contact us. Our office works closely with engineers, fire investigators, and public adjusters to help obtain compensation when it is due.