100 years ago today, over 100 factory workers died in a fire at the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory in New York City. The deaths could have been prevented if management had implemented basic safety precautions, but they chose not to, choosing profits over people’s lives. Here is a snippet from a great PBS documentary on the tragedy, starting at the moment the flames started to lick the walls, which would soon become gouged by the fingernails of the panicked workers trapped inside. [More]
The government proposes new regulation to make an industry safer. The industry shouts back that the new measures are “cumbersome and costly,â€Ÿ tantamount to “a confiscation of property.” A newspaper opines, “Excited persons rarely accomplish anything…No new laws are needed.” Trade groups issue dire warnings about how the new laws will wipe out entire industries and sacrifice jobs. Are these the latest response to new Consumer Product Safety Commission guidelines? Banking giants balking at financial reform? Nope, those were quotes from when fire protection guidelines were proposed after the Triangle Shirtwaist Factory fire of 1911, in which 146 garment workers died. Friday marks the 100th anniversary of this tragedy. [More]
A family in Allentown, PA was lucky to escape with their lives after a natural gas explosion destroyed their block and took five of their neighbor’s souls. Then their cable company RCN told them they would have to pay $170 a pop for the cable boxes that were destroyed in the fire. [More]
This pictures is of Melanie’s house as it burns to the ground within 60 minutes. It was a fixer-upper she and her husband had poured their savings and souls into with all sorts of DIY projects, and they and their two-and-half year-old son escaped it becoming their pyre by only minutes and with only the clothes on their backs. These are 9 things she wished beforehand, now that she is wrestling with insurance and filing claims: [More]
The Zippo lighter that Mark has carried around the world with him for the last 30 years just wasn’t working like it used to. (I would say that it “lost its zip,” but that’s a stale pun and The Consumerist is far too dignified for that kind of thing.) He theorized that the reason could be the off-brand flints and fuel that he purchased for it locally. Zippo’s representative agreed, and to test that theory, sent him some free genuine Zippo brand fuel and flints in the mail immediately. “You’re probably the ‘most-best’ company in the world!” Mark wrote back to them. [More]
The fire raged through 62 units of the Galleria apartment homes in Fargo, ND. Flames shot out windows and black smoke billowed across the sky. No one was hurt but 150 residents are without homes. A now, their cable company wants them to pay for the equipment damaged in the blaze, between $500 to $1,000. [More]
A Tennessee man watched in horror last week as flames consumed his house. Also watching? The local subscription-based fire department. The man had not paid his $75 firefighting fee, so the firemen would not lift a finger or a hose. [More]
Fire alarms make you feel safe, but an Albany, Calif. fire chief says it’s a false sense of security. Speaking to the San Francisco Chronicle, the chief says most people equip their homes with cheaper ionization alarms, which detect smoke via an electric current and can lead to false alarms (such as reacting to overcooked food) while missing genuine dangers until it’s too late. The chief says people should opt for slightly more expensive photoelectric alarms, which use more accurate light beams to alert fire victims. [More]
An AT&T insider sent Boy Genius Report these pictures of an iPhone 4 that burst into flames after a customer tried to hook it up to his computer. [More]
No, you’re not having a flashback. This is a new Toyota recall, and it’s not based on sticky pedals, stuck floormats or problems with emergency handling. This time, according to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the problem is that the Lexus HS 250h hybrid could leak fuel in rear-end collisions, potentially causing fires. Sales of the vehicle have been halted as Toyota works on a solution. [More]
An iPod erupted on a high school science room desk in Pentucket Regional High School in, MA yesterday. Supposedly… [More]
Gizmodo reports, based on a story in the subscription-only El Norte, that workers in a Foxconn factory in Juarez, Mexico became enraged and set the building on fire. Supervisors had misled the workers into working unpaid overtime. A delightful follow-up to the Reuters report about a Foxconn security guard threatening a foreign reporter. [Gizmodo] (Thanks, GitEmSteveDave!) [More]
Remember Michael? When he tried to upgrade his Verizon DSL, a customer service rep helpfully told him that 7 mbps was not only unavailable at his address, but it would burn his house down. After this slightly surreal exchange was featured on Consumerist, Michael reports that Verizon’s executive customer service got in touch with him and figured out the situation. Guess what? He could get the blazing fast DSL that Verizon had repeatedly refused him. [More]
There’s a big scorch mark on Hannah’s floor. It appeared last week after her Dell Mini 9 began suddenly sizzling and smoking and melting. We have pictures, and questions. [More]
We have an update to this story, with a happy ending for everyone except for the ill-fated Mini Cooper.
Is John asking too much from Zipcar? He writes that he and his wife rented a Mini Cooper for a weekend trip. On their way home, their car first overheated, then burst into flames just minutes after they pulled over. The couple survived uninjured, but didn’t have time to get all of their belongings out of the car. Zipcar sent roadside assistance, reimbursed John and his wife for their car ride home, and gave them a credit good for another daylong car rental. However, the company will not cover any of their personal items destroyed in the fire.
Michael would like some faster Internet tubes to run into his house. He would be happy to give his ISP, Verizon DSL, money to provide this service, but he can’t. He writes that repeated calls to Verizon’s sales line resulted in a series of answers that disagreed with each other, culminating in a call where the rep quite sincerely informed him that Verizon cannot give him faster DSL because it will burn his house down.
DirecTV was planning on charging several victims in the largest fire in recorded Los Angeles County history for the satellite TV receivers that burnt to cinders in their homes. “What I’d like to do is take a shovel full of ashes from my cabin and dump it on their desk. They can have their receivers back,” Ken Gray told LAT.