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Grill Accidents & Burn Injuries: Hannah Storm Incident Highlights Risks

Jan 2, 2013 - Birmingham by

On New Year’s Day, ESPN anchor Hannah Storm returned to television to host the 2013 Rose Parade. The event was Storm’s first appearance on television since she was badly burned in an accident with a gas grill on December 11. ABC World News Tonight also released some images of Hannah Storm immediately after the accident that showed the extent of her burns. These images are available on Yahoo Sports1394997_summer_grilling_1

Our Birmingham injury lawyers are pleased to see that Hannah Storm has made a solid recovery and is back on television. We also believe this accident serves as an important reminder of the potential dangers of propane and gas grills and urge everyone to exercise extreme caution when using such devices. Burn injuries can be very serious or even deadly and it is important that grill manufacturers and rebottled propane distributors do everything possible to make sure their products are safe and do not put people at undue risk.

Propane Grill Accidents and Injuries
Hannah Storm suffered her injuries when she was preparing dinner at her Connecticut home. When she saw that the flame on her gas grill had done out, she turned off the grill and then reignited it. Flame roared into her face in a loud explosion that her neighbor indicated sounded like a tree had fallen through the roof. The explosion blew the doors off the grill, set Storm’s shirt on fire, and caused her to lose half her hair as well as her eyebrows and eyelashes. Storm also suffered second-degree burns on her chest and hands and first degree burns on her face and her neck.

This accident illustrates how dangerous propane grills can be. If there is a defect in either the design of the grill or in the rebottled propane used as a fuel source, pressure can mount and lead to a gas explosion. Unfortunately, these types of explosions and fires caused by propane grills are entirely too common. In fact, the National Fire Protection Association indicates that gas grills were involved in causing an estimated 6,900 house fires between 2005 and 2009.

Staying Safe from Propane Grill Accidents
Avoiding accidents with gas grills is important for every homeowner who has a grill at his or her home. The National Propane Gas Association provides some safety tips for homeowners including:

  • Using the grill outdoors in a well-ventilated space.
  • Following all manufacturer instructions and keeping the written manuals accessible.
  • Storing gas cylinders upright, outdoors and away from possible sources of ignition.
  • Asking the supplier of the propane cylinder to check for dents and leaks when the cylinder is refilled.
  • Using a leak detection solution to check for tightness of connections before lighting the propane grill. Your local propane gas retailer should be able to provide you with a leak detection solution.

Of course, even when following these steps, it is important that the grill not have any design defects or product defects that cause it to malfunction. It is also important that propane distributors make sure your refillable propane bottles are in good condition and not damaged or dangerous in any way. The grill manufacturer and propane distributor are in the best position to prevent grilling accidents due to problems with the propane or the grill and they can be held legally responsible if something goes wrong due to a failure on their part.

Additional Resources:

Birmingham Teens at High Risk of Winter Traffic Crashes, Alabama Injury Attorneys Blog, December 4, 2012

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