South Carolina man sues Walmart after gas can explosion


AIKEN, S.C. (AP) — A South Carolina man is suing Walmart, saying a gas can that exploded and set him on fire was defective and should never have been sold to him at a Walmart store in Barnwell.

In a federal lawsuit filed this month, Jamie Grubbs says he was using fuel as an accelerant for a fire in his back yard. He says fumes from the gasoline ignited, causing a “flashback explosion” and throwing burning gasoline onto him in 2015.

Walmart “knew or should have known of the Subject Gas Can’s susceptibility to flashback, which occurs when gasoline vapors ignite and the flames chase the vapor trail back into the can, causing an explosion and the spewing of flames and burning gasoline,” the lawsuit states.

Grubbs’ lawyers say a device known as a “flame arrestor” is part of other gas cans and would have prevented the flashback. But they say that such a device was not part of the gas can at issue in the case.

The lawsuit is one of several filed in recent years involving portable gas cans manufactured by Oklahoma-based Blitz U.S.A. Inc. Others have been filed in Arizona, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and Oregon.

Blitz U.S.A. closed in 2012. Its CEO blamed the lawsuits.

Walmart didn’t have any immediate comment, but a spokesman said Friday the company was looking into the matter.

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