Allegedly Defective Electrical Heater Causes Store to Burn Down

Michael Talve, CEO

Written by
— Updated on October 27, 2017

electrical heaterThis case involves a store burning down due to an allegedly defective electrical heater. The plaintiffs owned a small clothing store and used an electrical heater placed in a window to warm their store. One day, the electrical heater overheated, and the window lit on fire, eventually spreading to the entire store. There was an ensuing dispute over whether the cause of the fire had been due to the weak surge protector or the space heater itself; the consequent trial against the manufacturing companies concluded that the electrical heater had been the cause of the fire, and an expert in risks and designs of similar heaters was asked to opine on the case.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Did the electrical heater malfunction and was it defective?

Expert Witness Response E-005127

Generally, there is a risk with any electric heater, but if properly placed, it should not have caused a fire. I would examine the exact model and instructions for placement. I have extensive experience designing and applying electric heat in a wide variety of product applications – electric furnaces, AC & HP AHU, duct heaters, packaged AC & HP, Room AC & HP (RAC) and PTAC equipment. This experience would help when I examine the design of the heater. I am a product design engineer with specific experience designing residential electric HVAC units. I have over thirty years of experience as a design engineer.

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