Forensic Engineering Investigation into Factors Contributing to Explosion of a Consumer-Grade Tabletop Torch
Keywords:explosion, fire, forensic engineering, flash point, consumer product, product defect, design defect, marketing defect, defective warning, tabletop torch
In early 2013, approximately 3,500 consumer-grade tabletop torches, designed for use with citronella oil to ward off insects, were sold by a retailer. Within six months of their debut, 22 of these products experi-enced sudden explosions, resulting in one fatality and 21 severe burn injuries to consumers. The author was retained as an expert in the fatal explosion case to determine the root cause(s) that led to these explosions. This paper will describe the detailed, experimental-based investigation that was carried out to reveal design, manufacturing, and marketing defects for which the designer of the torch, the manufacturer of the fuel, and the retailer of the final product were responsible. It was determined that the explosions occurred as a result of a “perfect storm” scenario that involved defective product design, defective marketing of the product through the sale of incompatible fuel by the retailer, and deficient warning instructions by the manufacturer.
How to Cite
In connection with my efforts as a presenter at any NAFE educational program and/or as an author of a NAFE Journal article, I may have occasion to perform tasks and activities which could be determined to constitute authorship under applicable copyright laws. It is my express intent never to exercise any intellectual property right in any NAFE document or publication, whether in final or draft form. With regard to any intellectual property I provide to NAFE, I hereby warrant that (1) I am the author of such work or that I have secured written consent for use of any portions of the work copyrighted by others and (2) to the best of my knowledge, the work does not violate or infringe the copyright or other personal property rights of others.
I hereby acknowledge that my participation in NAFE activities provides me with substantial and valuable benefits, including access to current and revised forensic engineering content, discussion of existing and emerging legal and forensic principles, concepts and trends, and the opportunity to review forensic engineering information prior to its dissemination to the broader engineering community.
Accordingly, for and in consideration of the foregoing, I hereby bargain, sell and irrevocably assign to the National Academy of Forensic Engineering (NAFE), all of my right, title and interest, property claim, and demand of every kind and nature whatever in any and all copyrights (including full and exclusive worldwide ownership of the copyright, and all of the rights comprised therein, in print and in all other media), under and by virtue of any acts of Congress, with the rights to any and all profits, benefits and advantage that may arise from printing, publishing or sale of printed copies, electronic versions or other media assigned to the NAFE.