Chrysler Probe Expands

Two years ago NHTSA launched an investigation into whether an usual number of Chrysler vehicles caught fire after rear end collisions. Originally the focus was on 3 million Jeep Grand Cherokees. Now NHTSA has added an additional 2.1 million Jeep Cherokees and Jeep Liberty SUVs manufactured between 1993 and 2001.

Central to the investigation are concerns of the plastic rear mounted gas tank which may lead to higher incidence of fires. So far NHTSA has received reports of 15 deaths and 41 injuries related to this potential problem.

According to a government analysis, there is “a higher incidence of rear-impact, fatal fire crashes for the Jeep products.”

Chrysler officials downplay the issue, though David Dillon, Chrysler’s head of product investigations, acknowledged in an interview with the Detroit News that, “Grand Cherokee may have more of these events than their competitors.” But, on the whole, Dillon insisted, “Those vehicles essentially are performing the same as their peers.”

Read more here.


Flammable Fabrics - Still a Danger?

Throughout a typical day, the fears and worries a parent must encounter can become innumerable. Once the kids have been settled into bed for the night, parents should be able to have some sense of relief that their children are sleeping safely and soundly in their beds. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. Sometimes the very fabrics our children are sleeping in have the potential to endanger their lives.

In the 1970s, and prior, the number of children dying from their pajamas catching on fire was a major problem. Legislation was then passed to make fire standards mandatory for children’s sleepwear. These standards are supposed to keep flammable sleepwear for children off the market. However, there are still cases that slip through from time to time, such as the recent recall of about 7,000 pajamas from Little Miss Matched Girls Pajama Sets in December of last year.


How do I know if my child’s pajamas are safe?

The most important thing is to check the label on your child’s pajamas. If the label says “Flammable”, “Inflammable”, or “Combustible”, the garment will burn quickly and easily. If the label says “Non-flammable”, “Non-combustible”, or “Fireproof”, the garment will not burn. If the label says “Fire resistant”, “Fire retardant”, “Flame resistant”, or “Flame retardant”, the garment will be slow to ignite, slow to burn, and may even extinguish itself if the source of heat is removed. Loose fitting pajamas will catch fire more easily than ones that have a more snug fit. Also be sure to read the care label on your child’s pajamas. Some detergents and fabric softeners can cause build-up on the fabric, decreasing the level of fire resistance the garment was originally made with. Always follow care instructions carefully.

What should I do if my child’s clothes catch on fire?

Take action immediately. Wasted seconds can add significantly to the level of injury sustained by fire. Tell your child to STOP, DROP and ROLL. Most children have learned this method in school. Its always a good idea to practice it at home as well, as soon as your child is old enough to understand what it means. If your child is too young to roll on his or her own, use a wool blanket or coat to cover your child and smother the fire out. Remove your child’s clothing, except in places where it may be stuck to the skin. If you are inside a burning building, be sure to get everyone out immediately. Then call 911.

For more information on fabric flammability, and facts that could keep your family safe, please visit this website.

At the law offices of D. Hardison Wood, we are committed to protecting and fighting for the safety and legal rights of children. If your child has suffered injury as a result of unsafe, flammable pajamas or other fabrics, please contact our office at your earliest convenience, as you may have a claim against the manufacturer. Contact us today at 1-877-829-7211.

Vehicle Fires- A True Risk to Drivers

U.S. statistics show that in 2006, vehicle fires were to blame for “an estimated 490 deaths, 1,200 injuries and $1.3 billion in property damage“. These numbers are staggering. They become even more so when you consider that “three-quarters of highway vehicle fires resulted from mechanical or electrical failures or malfunctions”. This ultimately means that the majority of the deaths, injuries and property damage sustained by vehicle fires could have been avoided altogether, if only the vehicle’s manufacturer had produced a malfunction-free, fire-safe car for the market.

Until stricter guidelines are made mandatory for car manufacturers, vehicle fires will continue to occur. At times, these accidents can happen unexpectedly, without warning or notice, and even without a collision. It is wise to educate yourself on steps you can take to prevent these fires, and what to do should you become a vehicle fire victim. Here are a few tips to keep in mind:

-Maintain your vehicle well. Have repairs done as needed. Have your vehicle inspected at least once a year.

-Keep up-to-date on recalls that pertain to your vehicle. For example, the latest Honda Fit recall is due to a fire hazard that can be caused just from having water leak in through the window.

-Be aware of the noises your car makes. Make an effort to turn down the radio and just listen to the way your car is running from time to time. Anything that sounds out of the ordinary is worth getting checked out.

-Periodically check for wear and tear on your vehicle. Be sure all bolts and wiring are secure. Check for cracked pipes or hoses. If anything is out of place or appears worn out, have it repaired as soon as you can.

-If your car does catch on fire, pull over to the side of the road. Turn the car off. Get everyone out of the vehicle, and move at least 100 feet away. Keep everyone together and away from the road or highway. Call 911.

-Do not attempt to open the hood of a burning car.

-Do not attempt to put the fire out of a burning vehicle. Statistics show that “one-third of non-fatal highway vehicle fire injuries occurred when civilians attempted to fight the fire themselves”.

For more information on vehicle fires and the risk they impose on drivers and their families, please visit:

Vehicle fires are serious accidents that can leave victims disfigured or disabled for the rest of their lives. Many times the financial loss of a vehicle or other property damage becomes an enormous burden for families. And of course, no one can replace the innocent lives that these catastrophic accidents claim. If you have been injured or suffered loss as a result of a vehicle fire, don't forget you may have a  legal claim against the manufacturer. Without a doubt the manufacturer will try to lay blame elsewhere, as seen in the Toyota incidents, and create illusions that make your story seem false 

But the lawmakers questioned whether Toyota had fully explored the problem. According to the committee's review of 75,000 documents from Toyota, including 20,000 in Japanese, the automaker dismissed many sudden acceleration complaints as driver error.

After the launch of probes by two committees, Toyota hired an outside engineering firm, Exponent, to run tests on its electronic throttle controls. Executives later cited an interim report by Exponent finding no fault with the controls as evidence that the system worked as designed.

But the committee said Exponent only tested six vehicles and did not conduct any testing of real-world interference. Two outside experts who reviewed the report said it was so limited it was of little value. (read more)

However, your legal rights should not be forgotten. If you or a loved one have suffered loss or injury as a result vehicle fire, we’d like to help. Please contact the law offices of D. Hardison Wood to speak with an attorney who will fight to make sure your rights are protected.

More Potential Car Fires Leads to Recall

Car fires are much more common that some may think. And frankly, quite often, there is truly a defect in the automobile that caused them. This time the recall involves more GM cars. According to the report GM is recalling 857,735 vehicles, including

2007-2008 model year Chevrolet Silverado, Tahoe, Avalanche and Suburban, Cadillac Escalade, Escalade ESV and Escalade EXT, GMC Acadia, Sierra, Yukon, Yukon XL and Saturn Outlook; 2006-2008 Hummer H2, Cadillac DTS and Buick Lucerne; and the 2008 Buick Enclave

According to the report, federal safety regulators said there was a potential for a short circuit in the wiper system which could lead to electrical malfunctions, smoke or raise the potential for a car fire.

In  another GM recall...

88,809 2008-model year Buick Enclave, and 2007-2008 model year GMC Acadia and Saturn Outlook SUVs in 28 states and Washington, D.C

are being recalled. That recall is due to the fact a buildup of snow and ice can cause a restriction in the windshield wiper movement and cause the motor to detach from the windshield arm.

If you have been hurt by a product defect in your automobile, the Law Office of D. Hardison Wood would like to discuss your matter with you.

GM recalls- Fires

There has been yet another car recall because of a threat of fire. This time it involves GM Buick Regals and Pontiacs.
WASHINGTON, D.C. — General Motors has recalled 207,542 1997-2003 Buick Regal GS and Pontiac Grand Prix GTP models with 3.8-liter supercharged V6 engines over a risk that they could catch fire. The recall includes a strong warning not to park the vehicles "in a garage, carport or other structure" to avoid the risk of fire.

"Certain underhood fires may be caused by drops of engine oil being deposited on the exhaust manifold through hard braking," says the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) in the recalls summary on its Web site. "If the manifold is hot enough and the oil runs below the heat shield, it may ignite into a small flame and, in some instances, spread to the plastic spark plug wire channel." Other documentation adds that "most cases have occurred five to 10 minutes after the vehicle has been turned off."

The NHTSA reports that the problem has caused 267 fires to date and six injuries, five of which are minor. There are no fatalities associated with the problem. Read more

GM Fires

We have been hearing about and have been contacted about  car fires. Now it appears the government is investigating fires in certain GM SUVs.
The government is investigating reports of engine fires in General Motors’ full-size sport utility vehicles. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says it has received two reports of fires on 2007 model year Chevrolet Tahoe SUVs.
Both reports allege that the vehicles were parked in a home garage with the engine shut off when the fires occurred, causing significant property damage.
The investigation, which also includes the 2007 GMC Yukon SUV, involves about 423,000 SUVs. Read the article

Furniture Fires

Something we may not link commonly link together are upholstered furniture and home fires. However, home fires involving upholstered furniture can spread more quickly. The CPSC took action on this very fact and issued the following statement:

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) voted unanimously (2-0) to issue a notice of proposed rulemaking (NPR) on a new mandatory standard to address residential upholstered furniture fires.

The goal of the proposed standard is to prevent ignition or slow the spread and intensity of upholstered furniture fires. These fires cost the U.S. about $1.6 billion each year. CPSC staff estimates the proposed standard, once fully effective, would prevent an estimated 100 deaths and 130 injuries every year.

“Fires involving upholstered furniture are a leading cause of fire-related deaths in U.S. homes,” said CPSC Acting Chairman Nancy Nord. “Stopping a furniture fire in its tracks or slowing its spread would buy consumers precious time to get out of their homes.”

Under the proposal, manufacturers could meet the performance standard by using smolder-resistant cover fabrics or interior fire resistant barriers to protect the furniture’s internal filling material which is the primary fuel in an upholstered furniture fire.

The CPSC’s objective is to reduce the fire risk in upholstered furniture without requiring the use of fire retardant chemicals. Manufacturers will not be required to use chemicals to meet the proposed standard. In its environmental assessment, CPSC staff projects most manufacturers and importers would likely choose options that do not involve fire- retardants in fabrics or filling materials.

“CPSC is now on track to develop a mandatory safety rule that will save lives and protect consumers,” added Acting Chairman Nord.

An NPR is the second step in the agency’s three step rulemaking process.

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