Blair Recalls More Flammable Clothing After Yet Another Fire

“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.

In a letter to consumers back in May, the company wrote:

If you have chosen not to participate in Blair’s recall of our Full-Length Chenille Bath Robe or if you haven’t yet returned your robe to us, we urge you rethink your decision to keep it. While we are pleased that you value your robe, we urge you in the strongest possible terms to discontinue using the robe immediately and return it to us, even if your robe appears to be safe. Some robes fail to meet federal flammability requirements and present a risk of serious burns to consumers if they are exposed to an open flame.

The horrible irony here is that the catalog photo for the original chenille robe has a candlestick in the background.

Blair Expands Recall To All Women’s Chenille Apparel Due to Burn Hazard; Additional Reported Deaths Prompt Re-Announcement of Robe Recall [CPSC]
Important Product Recall Information [Blair]

Flammable Robes Keep Killing People – Recall Reissued


Edit Your Comment

  1. jpdanzig says:

    Just what the heck is chenile, any way? A synthetic fabric that’s a favorite of the geriatric set?

    • Laura Northrup says:

      @jpdanzig: It’s an incredibly soft synthetic fiber. They make sleepwear, sweaters, slippers, and stuffed animals out of it. I have a chenille bathrobe I like very much.

      It can be made out of recycled soda bottles, as far as I know.

      • pecan 3.14159265 says:

        @Laura Northrup: I always associate chenille with cheap sweaters. The material just seems really, really cheap to me.

        • catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: exactly, i have an old chenille sweater that was super cool to me when i was all gothed out because the fibers had shed so much it was like wearing a giant black fishnet sweater

        • Julia789 says:

          @pecan 3.14159265: They “shed” everywhere! The crappy cheap synthetic ones do at least. I got a couple of those sweaters for Christmas one year, they were terrible. Someone must have gotten them from a cheap catalog.

          Perhaps the silk ones that are well made stay nice and last a while.

    • meg9 says:

      @jpdanzig: chenille can also be made of silk— but these are not :)

  2. lvixen says:

    It was more commonly used for bedspreads many years ago. It seems to have made a comeback as clothing. Chenille is french for caterpillar. It’s a raised pile, kind of like carpet but thinner and in a stripe pattern (usually). It looks like an old bedspread made into a robe.

  3. bloggerX says:

    She looks like she was superimposed in this picture. Her posture has a, “hurry the f*ck up, I need to take a sh*t look to it”. The sly smile is only a cover…

  4. TheOrtega says:

    Im sorry but Why are people starting on fire? If they fall asleep with a cigarette on them or on top of a electric heater isn’t that their own fault? Are these clothes soaked in gasoline?

    • floraposte says:

      @TheOrtega: That’s pretty much what they burn like. Several of the recent fatalities were cooking, so you can see how an errant sleeve might end up in the wrong place. There are actually very stern standards for flame-resistance in kids’ stuff, but the adult standards are pretty loose; these may nonetheless fail to meet them.

      Chenille is in general a pretty damn flammable substance–it’s basically a blend of tinder and air.

    • redskull says:

      @TheOrtega: I was wondering the same thing. I’ve managed to live a long and full life without my clothes ever once catching on fire.

      I’m guessing it probably happens when people cook breakfast while wearing their robes, and reach across a hot stove burner?

  5. DirectMailFan says:

    The folks at Haband (which offers very similar nerchandise) better take a 2nd look at all that corduroy they’re selling.

  6. pecan 3.14159265 says:

    On the other hand, someone who thinks he is the Human Torch can now have his delusions confirmed.

  7. shepd says:

    Cotton is generally PREFERRED in occupations where setting oneself alight is a possibility.

    How the hell did they manage to make 100% cotton flash flammable?

    • SacraBos says:

      @shepd: Nitric/sulfuric acid bath resulting in nitrocellulose, commonly referred to as gun-cotton or smokeless gunpowder. Pretty flash flammable…

  8. Gravitational Eddy says:

    It’s a fuzzy lint type effect. FWOOMP… next thing you know, Grandma’s doing her human Tiki Torch impression.
    Honestly people, I can understand kid’s PJ’s and Halloween costumes really need to be fire resistant, but do we have to have this all the way across the board now?
    Where’s the common sense that says don’t mess with the fireplace or the huge scented candles while you are wearing a loose floppy housecoat or robe?

  9. wvFrugan says:

    Way #51 to leave your GILF lover!

  10. speedwell (propagandist and secular snarkist) says:

    OK, guys. I used to work in a fabric store. All normal clothing is flammable, including sleepwear. No clothing fabric is safe to wear in a fire. No normal clothing protects you from fire. The best you can get is wool, which often puts itself out, or glass fibers (which you would never wear to bed anyway). Flame retardant treatments reduce the burning rate of other fabric so hopefully your burns are not as severe.

    More info: []

  11. nstonep says:

    I used to know a guy who worked in the warehouse at this company somewhere in bumf*ck PA…oh the stories he told. There was this thing about the huge spider coming in the box of a shipment from south america; classic stuff…

    • Eilonwynn says:

      @nstonep: Ah, good old Warren, Pennsylvania. Half my grandmother’s wardrobe comes from there, because a lot of relatives have worked there over the years. Can’t stand the stuff, myself.

  12. DoctorMD says:

    I guess the lawyers want all clothes made from nomex? Gotta love the absurd legal system.

    • GearheadGeek says:

      @DoctorMD: I think there is a reasonable gray area between “nomex” and “flammable chenille.” I generally prefer that my clothing not catch fire easily, though I’m sure most of it would burn once it eventually caught fire.

    • mxjohnson says:

      @DoctorMD: @speedwell, avatar of snark: Remember that UCLA lab student who died recently when her synthetic sweater caught on fire? The chemical safety expert in the case said she was basically wearing solid gasoline.

      I remember as a kid, back when everybody smoked, I’d get burned time to time by a careless smoker. I had a favorite shirt — it was orange and had a cartoon lion on it — that was ruined when I was about seven. We were walking around Marina Del Rey in Los Angeles when some woman slammed her cigarette into my shoulder and burned a hole though my shirt. Burned me, too. But see, it didn’t engulf me in flames and kill me.

      Saying all fabric is flammable is like saying we’re all dying. It’s true, but it misses the point.

      • Trai_Dep says:

        @mxjohnson: Although, it would have been cool to see a Spiderman boy turn into a Human Torch boy right before everyone’s eyes.
        Ya gotta admit that…

  13. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    excuse me while i go submit this one to mythbusters. not because i don’t believe, but because i just want to see it done on TV

  14. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    From the Consumer Product Safety Commission website: “After this re-announcement, Blair received four additional reports of deaths allegedly due to the robes catching fire. Three of these victims were cooking and a fourth was tending a pellet stove; three of the four victims were in their 80s and one was in her 70s. All nine reported deaths occurred prior to the April 2009 announcement of the recall.”

    Look at the age group of these 4 victims – 3 in their 80’s and 1 was in her 70’s. That says a lot, especially the part about the pellet stove. I wonder if there was a gas stove involved in the other 3 deaths?

    Some older people are pretty spry and sharp, while others can barely get around and their mental capacity is diminished. Plus, the elderly women I know are perpetually cold, hence the heavy robe. This is a very sad situation, and we all have to remember that most clothing will burn when exposed to flames.

  15. FLConsumer says:

    What’s worse, flaming clothes or clothes covered in flame retardants which have not been properly tested for toxicity when worn?