Home fires increase dramatically in the winter. Winter home fires are often attributed to owner/occupant misuse of portable heaters. However, our 25 years of injury law experience instructs that home fires are frequently caused by defects. These defects include faulty wiring, improperly grounded outlets and appliances, and heating appliances lacking required safety features. Defective portable fuel tanks also cause home fires as shown in a recent local tragedy.
A Louisiana man sustained severe burns when his travel trailer caught fire in a sudden explosion touched off by lighting a cigarette. Explosions happen when an ignition source meets a concentration of flammable fuel. The fuel is often gas which is not easily detected. In this case, the injured man was living in the trailer parked between a pair of houses in the 2200 block of Park Circle. He simply lit a cigarette and his home exploded in flames. Worse still, he was living in the trailer while repairing his flood-damaged home.
The fire and explosion remains under investigation. Witnesses told police that the explosion happened as the man attempted to light a cigarette with a typical lighter. Many temporary shelters are equipped with a propane fuel source. The propane fuel is typically contained in a portable tank. The tank is refilled or swapped for a filled tank when empty. These tanks often decay over time resulting in leaks particularly at the threaded tank connection. Pressure release valves on portable propane tanks also fail with extended use.
Fisher Injury Lawyers asks our neighbors to carefully inspect propane tanks before use and to ensure that the tank valve is completely off when not in use. Always store propane tanks in a cool environment and away from ignition sources. Never assume that a propane tank is leak proof. Bathing a tank in soapy water will often reveal leaks by causing bubbles. Immediatley call the fire department if you do suspect a propane leak. Finally, immediately call an experienced, proven injury lawyer if you or a loved one has been injured by a home fire or explosion. Early investigation and inspection of all evidence is crucial to the success of your case.