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MARCH 25, 2016 Release Number: 16-127

WASHINGTON, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Gree Electric Appliances Inc., of Zhuhai, China; Hong Kong Gree Electric Appliances Sales Co. Ltd., of Hong Kong; and Gree USA Sales Ltd., of City of Industry, Calif., have agreed to pay a $15.45 million civil penalty to the government.

The penalty settles charges that Gree:

  • knowingly failed to report a defect and unreasonable risk of serious injury to CPSC immediately (within 24 hours) with dehumidifiers sold under 13 different brand names, including Frigidaire, GE, Gree, Kenmore and Soleus Air, as required by federal law;
  • knowingly made misrepresentations to CPSC staff during its investigation; and
  • sold dehumidifiers bearing the UL safety certification mark knowing that the dehumidifiers did not meet UL flammability standards.

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Barber v. State

Georgia Court of Appeals, Criminal Case (10/26/2012, 11/5/2012) A12A1624

CRIMINAL PRACTICE: Arson, Accident, Jury Charges, Intent, Insurance Fraud

Alert: The statute defining first degree arson, OCGA § 16-7-60 (a) (3), does not require that the accused set the fire with the intent to defraud the insurer, only that the accused knowingly damage[d] by fire or explosive any insured dwelling without the insured's consent.

Headnote: The Court of Appeals affirmed Kelvin D. Barber Jr.'s conviction for first degree arson, as the evidence supported it.  The Court held that the trial court did not erred in failing to charge the jury on Barber's sole defense of accident.  Barber argued that he did not have the requisite intent under OCGA § 16-7-60 (a) (3) because he set the fire in order to commit suicide, not to burn or damage the house or cause loss to the insurer.  He further argued that the evidence was insufficient to show that he set the fire knowing it would spread to or cause damage to other parts of the house.  But the Court explained that § 16-7-60 (a) (3) does not require that the accused set the fire with the intent to defraud the insurer, only that the accused knowingly damage[d] any insured dwelling without the insured's consent by fire or explosive.  Here, the evidence, including Barber's statement to the fire investigators, showed that Barber: poured gasoline and lighter fluid throughout the house and garage, and not just on his person, ripped up books and papers and spread them throughout the upper levels of the house as well, and told investigators that he intended for the house to burn, in addition to the vehicle he was inside.  Barber also argued that the trial court should have charged the jury on his sole defense of accident, arguing that there was at least slight evidence to warrant the charge.  But the Court found that the trial court's charge, given pursuant to Barber's request at trial, included the accident theory of defense.

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From Out of the Abyss...

This week's article is from the June 1950 Vol V, No. 5 issue of the California Conference of Arson Investigators newsletter and was written by Lowell W. Bradford.

Physical Evidence Aspects of Fire Investigation

SUMMARY:

Bugatti is recalling certain model year 2006-208 Veyron vehicles manufactured October 3, 2006, to December 22, 2006. In the affected vehicles, the positive battery (B+) cable and the connection to the alternator may corrode.

CONSEQUENCE:

The corrosion may result in the battery positive cable overheating, increasing the risk of a fire.

Click here for details.

Description

This recall involves Ryobi 40-Volt Brushless Snow Blowers. Item number RY40802 is printed on the data label on the back of the blowers. The snow blowers are black and green with two LED lights located on the front of the unit and are approximately 22 inches wide by 43 inches tall. “RYOBI” is printed on the front of the snow blowers. The models included in this recall are RY40802, RY40802A and RY40822. The model numbers are printed on the packaging. “40 V” is printed on each side of the snow blowers.

Go to CPSC for more details.

SUMMARY:

Jaguar Land Rover North America, LLC (Jaguar) is recalling certain model year 2010 Jaguar XF vehicles manufactured December 17, 2008, to April 15, 2009. The affected vehicles have a fuel tank with an outlet flange that may crack, allowing fuel to leak onto the ground.

CONSEQUENCE:

A fuel leak in the presence of an ignition source may increase the risk of a fire.

Click here for details.

NHTSA Recall - Exhaust Pipe Leak may Result in Fire

Summary:

Nova Bus (Nova) is recalling certain model year 2007 LFS transit buses manufactured January 1, 2007, to December 31, 2007. In the affected vehicles, the band clamp on the flex pipe between the turbocharger and the diesel particulate filter may be incorrectly located allowing the exhaust pipe to leak hot exhaust gases onto nearby components.

See full details at NHTSA

Development of Standardized Cooking Fires For Evaluation of Prevention Technologies

Fire Protection Research Foundation report: "Development of Standardized Cooking Fires for Evaluation of Prevention Technologies: Data Analysis"
Authors: Joshua Dinaburg, Daniel Gottuk – Hughes Associates, Inc.

July 2014 report

Beginning in 2010, the Foundation began a program to review the potential effectiveness of various technologies potentially capable of preventing cooking range top fires. A workshop conducted as part of that project considered the emergence of commercial products on the market and identified the need to develop standardized tests and criteria to evaluate the performance and effectiveness of such devices. This report summarizes and analyzes the results of two live fire test series conducted to form the basis for such a test protocol.

pdf Download the report.  (PDF, 5 MB) pdf Download the executive summary. (PDF, 20 KB)

October 2013 report

Cooking-equipment related fires are a leading cause of U.S. fire loss. Beginning in the mid 1980’s, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Consumer Product Safety Commission, and home appliance industry undertook a comprehensive review of strategies to mitigate death, injury and property loss from cooking fires. All strategies were engineering strategies defined by a condition to be detected (e.g., overheat of pan or food in pan, absence of person actively engaged in cooking process, early-stage fire on stovetop) and an action to be taken (e.g., shut off cooking heat, sound alarm, suppress fire). As part of this study, a comprehensive review of existing technologies was done.

In 2010, the Foundation conducted a study supported by NIST to develop this action plan. The study focused particularly on prevention technologies suitable for use on or with home cooking appliances. and consisted of a literature and technology review; the development of an enhanced technology evaluation methodology based on an in-depth review of cooking fire statistics; and the evaluation of currently available technologies using this methodology. The project culminated with a one day workshop of 35 leaders from the kitchen appliance, fire service, and user communities who met to review the above findings and identify gaps in information. The highest priority action item identified at that workshop toward implementation of commercially available cooking fire mitigation technologies was: "Develop standard fire scenarios and create test methods and performance criteria which can feed into standards development"

This report presents the results of a follow on project sponsored by NIST to gather data towards this goal.

pdf Download the report.  (PDF, 2 MB)

NHTSA Recall - Cooling Fan Resistor May Melt

SUMMARY:

Kia Motors America (Kia) is recalling certain model year 2014 Kia Forte vehicles manufactured December 5, 2012, to April 17, 2014. In the affected vehicles, the cooling fan resistor may overheat and melt.

See full details at NHTSA

Fire Investigation 101

OnlineFireScienceDegree.org has just published a collection of their favorite fire investigation sites and the California Conference of Arson Investigators is listed: http://onlinefiresciencedegree.org/fire-investigation/.

This site has loads of information and resources for education in the field of fire investigations.

Wind Driven Fires

Wind blowing into the broken window of a room on fire can turn a "routine room and contents fire" into a floor-to-ceiling firestorm. Historically, this has led to a significant number of firefighter fatalities and injuries, particularly in high-rise buildings where the fire must be fought from the interior of the structure.

Wind-Driven Fire in a Ranch-Style House in Texas, 2009

On April 12, 2009, a fire in a one-story ranch home in Texas claimed the lives of two fire fighters.  Sustained high winds occurred during the incident.  The winds caused a rapid change in the dynamics of the fire after the failure of a large section of glass in the rear of the house.

Wind Driven Fire in Home, Texas, 2009. Aerial view of damage to the structure. Photo credit: Houston Fire Department.

Wind Driven Fire in Home, Texas, 2009. Aerial view of damage to the structure. Photo credit: Houston Fire Department.

NIST performed computer simulations of the fire using the Fire Dynamic Simulator (FDS)  and Smokeview, a visualization tool, to provide insight on the fire development and thermal conditions that may have existed in the residence during the fire.

Read more...

More Articles...

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