Defective Fire Extinguisher Injures Repair Worker


Fire Suppression Expert WitnessThis case takes place in Indiana and involves the accidental discharge of a heavy duty fire extinguisher system in a commercial kitchen which caused severe injury. The plaintiff was a repair technician who worked with specialized fire suppression systems. In this particular case, the plaintiff was working with one of the valves in the system, when according to eyewitnesses the system spontaneously discharged, causing a range of devastating injuries to the plaintiff. The valve had been manufactured over thirty years ago, and it is alleged that the valve had a known flaw in its construction which is believed to have caused the sudden discharge of the system.

Question(s) For Expert Witness

  • 1. Please discuss your experience working with these particular valves?

Expert Witness Response E-007844

My involvement with this particular system included leading the R&D effort that led to the development of system, product management responsibility while serving as marketing manager, and manufacturing responsibility while serving as operations manager of another company. I am the chair of the U.S. technical advisory group to ISO TC 21/SC 8 which is responsible for the international standards for these particular systems. I have also served as a member of the US delegation to the International Maritime Organization where, among other documents, I was a member of the group that wrote the IMO rules for the testing and approval of system alternates to the one in question. I am the author of the two peer reviewed, EPA funded technical reports that, among other things, address the alternatives to the system in use here. I am also currently a member of the National Fire Protection Agency’s Gaseous Fire Extinguishing Systems Technical Committee, which is responsible for several standards including  the Standard on these particular fire extinguishing systems.

Expert Witness Response E-007839

Expert-ID: E-007839

My career at the company that manufactures these valves spanned about 15 years. The products were broken into two groups – hand portable/pre-engineered and engineered systems. My career was with the engineered systems group, which included halon and carbon dioxide systems. I spent the majority of my career in the product development and applications engineering areas with emphasis in halon and carbon dioxide systems. I represented the company on the National Fire Protection Association technical committees for Halon Systems (NFPA 12A) and Carbon Dioxide Systems (NFPA 12). I was involved in and managed the design and development of hardware involved in this unfortunate incident.

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