Fume ignition occurs when the vapors or fumes of flammable products (like paint thinner, gasoline, aerosols) combine with oxygen and are ignited by a heat source. These fumes, rather than the products themselves, can very easily cause a fire and lead to a serious burn or death – especially if the victim is wearing clothing made of flammable materials. Fumes are often invisible and odorless making them difficult to detect and very dangerous.
Fume ignition frequently occurs when a person lights a cigarette near gas fumes, which are generally heavier than oxygen and concentrate lower to the ground. A famous case occurred in Gilbert, Arizona when a landlord ignited a leak from a natural gas pipe owned by Southwest Gas after lighting a cigarette, but cases involving gas transmission lines are relatively rare, numbering a dozen a year annually.
Far more common are cases involving faulty water heaters, leaking propane tanks or defective gas grills. Gas water heaters alone are responsible for more than 300 serious injuries and 20 deaths nationally every year. The American National Standards Institute (ANSI) requires that gas water heaters be mounted eighteen inches above the floor, in order to prevent them from igniting fumes that pool at floor level. Unfortunately, many developers and installers are not aware of these standards and do not follow them, leading to more fume ignition fires. Give the Burn Injury Lawyers a call at 602-52-BURNS and we will promptly and thoroughly inspect the product, the configuration and the warnings, in order to determine whether you have a case.