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Articles Posted in Burn Injuries

Citing safety reasons, the short-lived Samsung Galaxy Note 7 has been officially recalled by the worldwide leading technology company after at least five reported incidents within the past week of the phone’s lithium ion battery overheating and causing violent explosions.  These recent explosions put the final nail in the Note’s coffin because they happened with so-called “replacement phones,” which were supposedly safe; a measure that Samsung took after dozens of reports, just in the U.S., of the originally-launched phones having similar failures. As of Oct. 10, Samsung officially called for all Galaxy Note 7 phones to be returned and for its stores to stop selling the device.

All Galaxy Note 7 users should halt use of their phones and return them to their providers for a refund. Samsung announced that returns will be eligible for refunds until at least Dec. 31, 2016. Since one of the explosions happened mid-flight on a commercial airliner, the FAA has issued a statement forbidding the use of the device by flight crew or passengers on any aircraft.  The unprecedented recall of a device that just released in August will send serious shockwaves throughout the tech world. It has been reported that Samsung’s mobile phone stock dropped 8 percent due to the announcement, and The Verge reported they will lose approximately upwards of $17 billion. The exact cause of the mechanical failure is under investigation with Samsung and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Lawsuits likely incoming for Samsung

The recall is sure to spawn class action lawsuits and potentially civil suits against Samsung from the individuals who were harmed from the exploding phones.

One man from Nicholasville, Kentucky was woken up in the middle of the night by a sharp hissing sound. Scared to death, he saw his room filling with black smoke and saw his phone was ignited. A terrible smell filled the air. Later that day, the man went to the emergency room due to feeling nauseous, and reported “vomiting black stuff.”  To make matters worse for Samsung, one of their employees responding to the man’s correspondence about the incident accidentally sent the victim a text message outlining what was obviously intended to be an internal affairs conversation talking about how to handle the man’s situation.  “Just now got this,” the text message from the Samsung employee read. “I can try and slow him down if we think it will matter, or we just let him do what he keeps threatening to do and see if he does it.”  It isn’t known if the man was threatening a lawsuit, but he would have firm ground to stand on if he were to pursue a suit for a faulty product. That accidental text message might not look good for Samsung in a courtroom. Continue reading

A man who had been helping other individuals escape from a burning home in Dorchester was critically burned during his efforts to alert those living in the floors above his apartment. The man, who has yet to be identified, had been living on the first floor of a triple-decker home in Dorchester when the fire broke out early Wednesday morning.

According to preliminary reports, the fire started at approximately 4:00 AM at the home located on Ridgewood Street. Firefighters responding to the scene have stated that 15 people, including 7 children, were present in the home when the fire raged on in the middle of the night. All of the residents escaped from the building unharmed, and they have their neighbor to thank in part for that fact.

The man had been staying in an apartment on the first floor of the triple-decker home following a fire that had damaged his previous residence. The exact details surrounding the matter have not yet been disclosed, but officials responding on scene have indicated that they believe the fire started on the first floor. Although they are unsure at this time what could have directly caused the fire to start. District Fire Chief Jeff Whitman spoke to reporters and stated that “With this type of weather, with windows being open still, the fire can travel in or out very quickly.” He indicated that he believed the fire began either on the first floor porch or somewhere inside the first floor apartments. Continue reading

A year after 22-year-old Binland Lee died in an Alston, MA apartment fire, her family is suing the landlord for her Boston wrongful death. Binland, a Boston University student, got trapped in her attic bedroom.

According to her loved ones, the landlord, Anna Belokurova, had rented Lee a bedroom in illegal apartment that had a faulty alarm system and not enough exits. Also named as Alton, MA wrongful death defendants are property owner Belokurova, Gateway Real Estate Group, two real estate brokers, and a real estate agent.

A Boston Globe Spotlight investigation reconstructed that tragic incident in April 2013. It reported ongoing problems of overcrowding at the building.

Elaine Yeskie has settled her Massachusetts wrongful death lawsuit against Anthony Baye, the man who pleaded guilty to manslaughter in the fatal fire that claimed the lives of her husband Paul Yeskie Sr. and son Paul Yeskie Jr. The two men died in 2012 in a blaze set by Baye at their home on a night when he started over a dozen fires.

Yeskie sought damages from Baye for the loss of her husband and son, as well as for the severe emotional trauma she experienced from witnessing their deaths. Her son Paul Jr. had autism.

The widow claims that the two men experienced conscious pain and suffering as they were fatally burned while trying to escape there home. Yeskie and another woman managed to flee the blaze.

On a single Saturday, two house fires broke out in Springfield, both due to electrical and heating appliances left unattended. On the morning of August 9th at 653 State St, a fire started in a bedroom of an apartment complex, when an electric iron was heated and left unattended on a bed, blazing the bed sheets and mattress before spreading into the rest of the room. Fire Commissioner Joseph Conant said that when they arrived, “the room was gutted by flames.” The family whose apartment caught on fire and a neighboring family were evacuated from the complex.

On Saturday also but in the afternoon another fire was reported at the apartment complex on 119 Ashley St. The residents left a curling iron on, which then burned through the counter and set fire to the bathroom. Damages are estimated at $10,000 and $15,000. No injuries were reported, though the two occupants were displaced to a different apartment complex.

The two similar incidents remind us all to be wary of potential fire hazards at our homes. Unfortunately, house fires are very common in the United States. Between 2007 and 2011, the National Fire Protection Agency reported 366,600 house fires. The resulting financial and personal consequences cannot be ignored. During this time frame, on average, seven people died in U.S. home fires every day; indeed, most fire-related deaths happen at home.
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The Federal Aviation Administration is looking into what caused the Massachusetts hot air balloon accident that left five people injured. The accident happened Saturday when the balloon “Raspberry Ripple” struck power lines as its operator tried to land in Clinton, Worcester County. The operator of the hot air balloon is Damn Yankee Balloons, which is based in Maine.

The impact with the lines caused a couple of explosions, resulting severe burns to two of the passengers. There is a possibility that the hot air balloon wasn’t flying high enough during the birthday celebration ride. The balloon crash-landed on private property.

The Clinton, MA hot air balloon accident took place just two months after another hot air balloon also struck power lines, exploding into flames in Virginia. Three people died in that incident.

Hopefully, this sends a message loud and clear to the Southern California Gas Company that the safety of their customers should be of utmost priority. The company, which sometimes goes by the nickname, “SoCalGas” was found to be responsible for a horrific accident that seriously injured a man in his San Gabriel, California home on January 19, 2011. Pengxuan Diao, 24, sustained severe second and third degree burns on over 20 percent of his body from a gas explosion caused by a leak on his property.

Court documents allege a Southern California Gas Company employee came to the property on which Pengxuan Diao lives on January 19, 2011 to work on gas lines in the area when he made a careless mistake. The worker disobeyed company safety guidelines and opened a gas valve leading to Mr. Diao’s house. The nearly-fatal mistake occurred when the employee left the property without properly checking the line for leaks and damage, per company policy. That mistake would prove costly, both in human life and in monetary losses for SoCalGas.
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A fiery truck crash involving a bus and a FedEx vehicle has claimed the lives of 10 people in Northern California. According to the CHP, the victims include the drivers of the two vehicles, five students, and three adult chaperones.

There were 19 students on the bus that was struck by the truck, which drove over a grassy median on the interstate to cause the collision. Over 30 people were hurt, sustaining burns, broken bones, head lacerations, broken noses, or other injuries. A number of them were hospitalized, some in serious condition.

The bus-truck crash caused the two vehicles to burst into flames, forcing one victim to be admitted to a hospital burn unit. That patient later died. The bus was one of three charter vehicles that were travelling 12 hours from the LA area to Humboldt State University, where the students were to go to college. The students are from different Los Angeles Unified School District high schools.

Nest Labs, the home electronics company Google recently acquired for $3.2 billion has stopped selling its smoke and carbon monoxide detectors amid grave concerns regarding its reliability in the event of an emergency. According to the New York Times, the smoke detector, known as “Nest Protect” can be inadvertently disabled when a person waves his or hands in front of the alarm. Perhaps inspired by the classic waving of a dish towel around the detector after cooking something especially smoky, the feature, called “Nest Wave,” was clearly not well-thought-out by the designers. Officials are worried that someone could potentially deactivate the alarm, rendering it useless in the event of a fire or carbon monoxide event.

It is easily to imagine how a child could unknowingly deactivate the alarm if it got close enough, putting the entire family at risk. A smoke detector and carbon monoxide alarm is one of the only electronics in the home that goes largely unnoticed until there is an actual emergency. They are the silent lifelines that only announce their presence when a threat is detected. If the alarm was disabled, it is possible no one in the home would even notice until it was much too late.

Nest Chief Executive Tony Fadell posted an open letter to customers on the company’s website explaining that Nest is making every effort to solve the problem. Fadell stated that the company has stopped selling the product until the feature in question has been remedied. He also mentioned that Nest would immediately begin deactivating the “Nest Wave” feature on devices already installed in homes. Fortunately, this is a process that can be done remotely to prevent any incidents with current customers.
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While the physical and emotional burden remains heavy, a sizeable financial weight has been lifted off the shoulders of Faye Boroughs and her son as a Florida jury awarded the family $14.8 million after an explosion in their home. Ms. Boroughs sustained severe burns on 33% of her body and remains permanently disfigured; a lifelong reminder of the explosion that claimed life of her partner. Michael Blanchard was burned on 98% of his body and suffered for three long weeks before succumbing to his injuries. The couple’s young son was in another part of the home at the time, but sustained psychological injuries.

According to the National Trial Lawyers, “evidence showed that the defendant companies violated gas safety codes and failed to adequately train their technicians.” The plaintiff’s attorneys were able to establish that the explosion was directly caused by negligent actions by Panhandle Plumbing and Andrews Cooling & Heating. Panhandle Plumbing did not seek the appropriate permits to install a gas line that was not properly labeled and lacked a safety shut-off valve-two very basic requirements. Andrews Cooling & Heating then installed a gas dryer with that faulty pipe, and ignored both the manufacturer’s instructions and minimum safety code provisions.
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