Consumer Product Safety Comm. Responds To News19 Report

8:19 PM, Dec 4, 2013   |    comments
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Columbia, SC (WLTX) - We were first to show you video of an experiment where, when the conditions are right, a regular red gas can could explode when you use it. 

After our initial report three weeks ago, the Consumer Product Safety Commission says they want to see the industry make changes; specifically, they want to see a small mesh screen called a Flame Arrestor included in gas cans.

"The CPSC is calling on the industry to regain the momentum that was lost in years past by designing their products to include this safety technology," the CPSC said in a memo to WLTX.

Some safety experts say the flame arrestor would prevent explosions that happen under certain conditions.

"People need to know that red gas can in their garage or out in their storage house, it could be a bomb," said Billy Walker, an attorney in Lexington whose litigated gas can explosion cases.

One of those cases involves Orangeburg native Chad Funchess, who was fueling up a chainsaw when his gas can exploded.

"The container that is supposedly safe is not," Funchess said.  "It's very unsafe."

The explosion burned 46% of Funchess' body and forced doctors to remove one of his hands.

The company that made the can Funchess was using, Blitz USA, responded to his lawsuit, denying all claims their product was unsafe.

"I believe it's been proven flame arrestors are doing their job.  I guess that's my point," said Major Darwin Fulwood with the Cayce Department of Public Safety.  "On the research I've seen, nobody is saying they don't work. So if they're inexpensive and they work, why not use them?"

The Portable Fuel Container Manufacturers Association though says "it would be irresponsible to incorporate flame arrestor technology as we understand it today in either our products or the voluntary standards governing our products.  Our industry encourages CPSC to lend their expertise and resources to search for a workable solution."

Both the CPSC and PFCMA sit on a flame arrestor task force that is currently testing designs that could lead to product modification.

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