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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.

Wildfire Origin and Cause Investigation

Part 1

As the spring fire season approaches, fire investigators across the country will be responding to wildfires to conduct origin and cause investigations. In many jurisdictions, investigators are assigned to a type of investigation that is unfamiliar. During the response, the investigator may be thinking that it is no big deal, having already investigated hundreds of structure fires. How hard can a wildfire be? The answer is simple; you must be trained in wildfire investigation to understand the process.

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Part 2

In Part 2 of “Wildfire Origin and Cause Investigation,” we will continue to discuss the main points for the local fire investigator to focus on when conducting a wildfire investigation. Hopefully, last month’s article was an eyeopener for some local investigators to expand their education. The topics we will cover this month will be fire cause determination and fire cause categories/ignition sources. Investigators should become familiar with NFPA 921 and NWCG Wildfire Origin and Cause Determination Handbook.

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Zero-clearance fireplaces a main source of fires

Chief: Almost one-third of High Desert house fires caused by zero-clearance fireplaces

A Helendale house fire earlier this month that caused $50,000 in damages was the latest in a string of residential blazes to be traced to a zero-clearance fireplace, a County Fire official said.

Battalion Chief Warren Peterson blames zero-clearance fireplaces for roughly 30 percent of house fires responded to by San Bernardino County Fire.

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USDC Pennsylvania Permits Vaporizer Fire Case to Proceed to Trial

In MUTUAL BENEFIT INSURANCE COMPANY v. KAZ, INC.,Civil Action No. 1:12-CV-2108 (Feb. 20, 2014) at http://www.leagle.com/decision/In%20FDCO%2020140221C81 was a civil action filed by plaintiff Mutual Benefit Insurance Company ("MBIC"), as subrogee of Betty and Allen Miller, alleging strict liability, negligence, and breach of warranty against defendant Kaz, Inc. ("Kaz"). MBIC seeks reimbursement of monies paid pursuant to an insurance policy issued to the Millers, whose house was damaged in a fire. MBIC alleged that Kaz designed, manufactured, distributed, and sold a vaporizer that caused the fire. Presently before the court is Kaz's motion in limine to exclude the testimony of one of MBIC's submitted experts, Randolph Marshall of Marshall Forensic, LLC. For the following reasons, the court denied the motion.

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The Six Motives for Firesetting

At any point during your career as a fire investigator you will be assigned to investigate an incendiary fire. When the investigator arrives on the scene, information about the incident will be coming from a variety of sources, including police, firefighters, witnesses and the occupants or owner. It is critical to sort all of the information and analyze it properly. During the investigation we must use critical thinking and ask many questions such as, why was this fire was deliberately set? Why was the home, business or vehicle the target of an arsonist? What was the motivation of the arsonist?

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BRP Recalls Ski-Doo and Can-Am Lithium-ion Rechargeable Batteries and Heated Gloves Due to Fire Haza

Description

This recall involves BRP Ski-Doo and Can-Am heated gloves and replacement Lithium-Ion rechargeable batteries. The gloves are only available in black and are sold with two lithium-ion rechargeable batteries and a charger. The gloves have either “ski-doo” or “can-am” on the pointer finger and on the wrist band of each glove. Both gloves come in size XS, S, M, L, XL, 2XL, 3XL. The battery pack is located on the zipped pouch on the wrist of each glove. Each battery is wrapped in white plastic with black writing which includes the warning information.  The recalled product codes can be found on the label sewn inside of the gloves. Recalled product codes are 446247 for the Can-Am heated gloves, 446248 for the Ski-Doo heated gloves and 4880580001 for the two Lithium-ion rechargeable batteries that are sold separately.

 

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