RMI recently resolved three dehumidifier fires with an aggregate recovery of $462,000.00 in settlements. The losses involved fires in southern, central and western Ohio.
Although the losses involved two different foreign manufacturers, all involved the same failure mode. In all three fires the dehumidifiers overheated, ignited combustible materials within the product with fire then extending to adjacent combustibles.
More specifically as to the product defect, each case involved an internal failure of the thermal protection device in the dehumidifier.
Dehumidifiers have been the subject of wide recalls in the United States. However, the Ohio Rules of Evidence do not permit the introduction of a recall into evidence to prove liability. An additional challenge is that the manufacturers involved are foreign corporations.
On all three losses RMI was involved in the early stages. The firm ensured that the proper entities (including the US supplier and seller) were on notice, scene preserved, that an NFPA compliant joint scene exam was held followed by a forensic lab examination to identity the failure mode.