Shoplifting is a crime, a scourge in the retail business, and very, very bad. Do you know what’s worse than than shoplifting, though? Setting the store on fire to distract store security while your companion shoplifts. Now a Minneapolis woman has been charged with two counts of arson, and the Walmart store where this happened sustained six-figure damage. [More]
There’s a story I used to tell my college roommate’s little sisters that would make them squeal with joy every single time: There was once a fire in my house (not the laughter part) and upon seeing the flames, my dad ripped the Nintendo console out of the wall in my brothers’ bedroom, dashed downstairs and got everyone — and the Nintendo — safely out of the house. That’s how we explained having the console later but not the necessary cords to connect it. [More]
Kitchen appliances make our lives more convenient and our meals more delicious, but they’re also dangerous. Dangerous? Ordinary appliances start tens of thousands of fires in United States homes every year. Our colleagues down the hall at ShopSmart rounded up some common causes of appliance fires and warned us all. [More]
If you had been considering a cruise vacation because nothing has gone terribly wrong on any major ships in at least a couple of weeks, maybe you should reconsider. Passengers on their third day of a Royal Caribbean cruise were dragged out of bed in the wee hours of the morning and told to put their life vests on because of a fire on board. [More]
When a house catches fire, there can be more than one type of first responder. There are the life-saving fire department and emergency medical services…and then there are the businesspeople selling repair and cleanup services, who sometimes arrive at the scene at the same time as the official first responders. Instead of hoses, axes, and ladders, these crews carry clipboards, contracts, and business cards. [More]
Before you go running out of your house to purchase an all new set of plastic pet bowls, let’s be realistic here — it’s probably not likely that your dog’s metal dish will catch the sunlight in just such a way as to spark a house fire, but anything is possible. One couple in California found out that the hot, fiery way. [More]
Infomercial products usually claim to solve a problem that you didn’t know you had. This is usually the stuff of jokes, but what if the products actually improved our lives and made us and our homes more safe? Such a thing is possible in the case of the Lint Lizard, a $11 gadget that promises to attach to your vacuum and suck gobs of lint out of the crevices of your dryer. [More]
Though not advertised as a feature, Matt recently learned that if you turn off a Frigidaire microwave and leave the house, it might spontaneously combust. A service tech blamed a short-circuiting switch for the blaze, which thankfully didn’t cause any serious property damage. [More]
Working hard to maintain their Worst Company in America trophy, a Comcast rep demanded that a couple whose home was destroyed in an apartment fire return their cable boxes, or pay $1,300. Oh, and they lose their promotional rate because they had the audacity to suspend their service. Because they are living in a hotel. After their home was destroyed. [More]
Some outdoor gas fire columns sold through Costco in the past 6-7 months have been recalled, because “gas can leak from connections in the column, posing a fire hazard.” I guess that’s why the photo shows it next to a serene koi pond–it’s so you can grab a rake and push it into the water if it gets too fire column-y. [More]
A Pennsylvania man died last Friday in a freak fire at a gas station. Authorities say that the fire was sparked by static electricity on the man’s body, and he died of inhalation of superheated gases. While this type of fire is very rare and fatalities even rarer, they do happen. To prevent them, you should do something terribly mundane: do not ever get back in your car while fueling, and make sure to touch a metal surface before fueling. [More]
CBS’s The Early Show aired a segment last Friday about counterfeit holiday lights and extension cords, mostly from China and mostly available at dollar stores, that can cause fires. The problem is that the manufacturers use shoddy materials, and sometimes even fake UL stickers, to give the impression that they’re following safety guidelines. You find out they’re not when your tree goes up in flames. [More]
“Consumers Urged to Stop Use of Flammable Wearing Apparel,” says the warning on the Consumer Product Safety Commission Web site. You would think so, wouldn’t you? But Blair, the catalog where your grandmother probably gets all of her clothes, has expanded their recall of chenille sleepwear after nine deaths and another reported chenille fire.
If a Comcast subcontractor accidentally drills into your electrical box and sets fire to your home — rest assured that the company will take it seriously. One Pennsylvania homeowner is feeling the seriousness right now. It all started when she asked Comcast to install a cable outlet in her kitchen, and it ended with smoke and flames and $20,000 in damage.
Consumer-grade fireworks are currently illegal in Arizona, but the sate government is considering passing a bill that would give the fire marshal the power to regulate the sale of them. This has caused an outcry from anti-fireworks types who say that even the less powerful consumer-grade products are too dangerous. Unfortunately, one of the most publicized opponents is a guy who was severely burned in 2004 because he was launching mortar-style fireworks from his moving car, and one blew back in through the window and set his stash on fire.
A fire broke out in a Best Buy in Quincy, Illinois, over the weekend, and although the sprinkler system put it out promptly, it flooded the entire store in an inch and a half of water. The store manager told the local news station that it would take a few days to clean up and restock inventory—but we prefer to imagine that there’s going to be an awful lot of CompUSA-style “AS IS” deals in the Quincy Best Buy very soon.