This claim involves an apartment fire that was allegedly caused by a space heater. The fire took place in January a week after the heating system in the plaintiff’s apartment stopped working. The plaintiff had been using the space heater at night and kept it within several feet of her bed. The plaintiff had also allegedly taken great care not to place the heater too close to clothing, carpets, or furniture. One night, the space heater suddenly caught fire. As a result of the fire, the plaintiff suffered burn injuries to her hand and arm as well as long-term breathing complications secondary to smoke inhalation. An engineering expert familiar with space heater design was sought to conduct testing and analysis of the heater in question and explain what caused the device to combust.
Question(s) For Expert Witness
- 1. Are you familiar with the space heater in question? If so, please explain.
- 2. How would you conduct fire safety testing of a space heater?
Expert Witness Response E-001181
I am a licensed professional engineer with a master’s degree and a Ph.D. in electrical engineering. I previously served as chief of safety and engineering for the US Army Communications Electronics Command, and I currently run a private electrical engineering consultancy. I am also a member of the National Fire Protection Association and the International Association of Electrical Inspectors. I am familiar with the space heater in question. In fact, I have reviewed a similar case with a virtually identical space heater. I have test facilities for electrical and temperature testing in accordance with UL 1278, the appropriate standard for the heater.