Over the last decade, flashlight manufacturers large and small have recalled thousands of products after reports of battery explosions, severe burn injuries and property damage.
Injured consumers and workers may be entitled to significant compensation. Learn more for free by contacting our lawyers today.
Dozens of consumers have suffered severe burns after an LED flashlight exploded unexpectedly during operation. While many of these devastating explosions will go unexplained, consumer safety advocates believe the Lithium-ion batteries used to power these lights may be to blame.
Learn More in a Similar Lawsuit: Remington 700 Recall Lawsuit
The product liability attorneys at TheProductLawyers.com have begun to offer free legal consultations to victims and families who were harmed by the sudden explosion of an LED flashlight. Some consumers have been left to recover from third-degree burns, spending weeks in the hospital and racking up thousands in medical bills. Our experienced lawyers can help.
Observers suggest that many injured individuals may be workers within the trades. Mechanics, electricians, plumbers and HVAC technicians often hold flashlights in their mouths, leaving their hands free to perform work. Carpenters and builders often do the same, but recent reports show that many of these skilled workers are being sold unsafe – and potentially defective – tools.
The problem has not gone unnoticed within the flashlight industry. In fact, many companies have begun to sell what they call “explosion-proof” LED flashlights, responding to a staggering number of recent recalls. Many of these newer models feature multiple safety mechanisms to reduce the likelihood that a flashlight’s battery will overheat, creating a fire risk. WorkSite’s explosion-proof flashlight, for example, begins operation at 270 lumens, but gradually decreases output over time, reaching 80 lumens after 72 hours of use.
The horrific story of Christopher Reid Carrington serves as a sobering illustration of this theory. In January of 2015, Mr. Carrington innocently placed an LED flashlight in his mouth. The Colorado man was searching for tools in the back of his truck, USA Today reports, needing his hands free to do so.
Within seconds, he later told reporters, the flashlight blew up. Mouth filled with blood and unable to speak, Carrington rushed to his son, a 7-year-old, who quickly phoned emergency services. At the Intensive Care Burn Unit of the University of Colorado, Carrington was diagnosed with third-degree burns, which covered his lips and tongue, even reaching down to scar the inside of his throat.
The man spent four days in the hospital, requiring constant intubation to breath. Doctors have told Mr. Carrington that he may have suffered permanent damage to his vocal cords. His sense of taste has likely been lost forever. Carrington sent the exploded flashlight to a team of independent engineers for further analysis.
Over the last decade, federal safety regulators at the US Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) have announced numerous flashlight recalls, warning consumers and workers to avoid any product that has been deemed a significant burn hazard.
On April 12, 2016, industry-leading outdoor equipment company Coleman issued an urgent recall for around 8,500 LED flashlights sold in the United States. The recall also covers a small number of torches distributed in Canada. According to Popular Mechanics, Coleman’s recall involves three flashlight models, which can overheat during operation and explode into flames:
As in most flashlight recalls, Coleman blames the fire hazard on the product’s battery, a Lithium-ion unit manufactured by Kaper Industrial, a company based in Hong Kong. While the Consumer Product Safety Commission has not yet received any reports of personal injury, the agency is aware of at least two incidents in which the battery overheated, catching fire and leading to property damage.
In March of 2016, tactical flashlight manufacturer Pelican announced a new recall for over 4,000 large Lithium-powered LED lanterns, along with nearly 170 replacement battery packs. The company has notified federal safety officials of two reports of the flashlight’s battery pack overheating. Neither incident led to personal injury.
Pelican’s recall is limited to 9410L flashlights equipped with Lithium-ion battery packs, along with replacement battery packs sold for the model. Recalled units will be marked with one of two part numbers:
The battery pack, however, appears to be the real problem. Manufactured by Chinese Lithium-ion specialists HYB Battery Co., battery packs included in the recall will be labeled with the part number 9413-301-001, which is printed on the battery’s shrink wrap. The recall only covers battery packs that include green shrink-wrapped cells, the CPSC reports.
In 2014, small LED manufacturer Lucent Ace issued a recall involving around 3,000 three-inch flashlights with hand straps. Sold exclusively at Academy Sports & Outdoor, a chain scattered throughout the Carolinas, Georgia and Alabama, the flashlight’s battery can short-circuit and cause the product’s canister to rupture.
No serious burns have been reported yet, but Lucent Ace has received at least one account of the flashlight rupturing in a consumer’s hand.
In one of the largest flashlight recalls ever issued, consumer product holding company Spectrum Brands pulled around 232,200 Rayovac LED flashlights from the North American market. When the recall was issued, on January 23, 2014, Spectrum had already received at least 12 reports of the flashlights overheating during use and beginning to melt.
Model numbers, according to Rayovac’s official recall website, can be found on the flashlight’s packaging. After the packaging has been discarded, recalled products can be identified by reference to a “date code,” printed on a label inside the flashlight’s battery compartment. The following date codes are included in the safety recall:
This massive Rayovac recall is different. None of the recalled flashlights use Lithium-ion batteries, relying instead on two AA batteries. In fact, Spectrum has explained the burn risk in detail, suggesting that the affected flashlights may be harboring a design or manufacturing defect:
“The spring, which is the negative battery terminal of the flashlight, may become dislodged and may cause a short circuit in some cases. Should a short circuit occur, the battery overheats for a brief hazard of time, posing a burn hazard to consumers.”
Measuring around 6 inches long, affected units have a run time between 25 and 50 hours. The products were manufactured in Indonesia, the Consumer Product Safety Commission states. Spectrum Brands is the owner of numerous popular brands, from Black+Decker and Farberware to hardware giant Stanley and ArmorAll.
In January of 2012, BJ’s Wholesale Clubs issued a recall for around 41,000 flashlight and battery sets, which were sold by Toronto-based company Superex. As the CPSC reports, the big-box retailer became aware of two reported incidents, with one of the now-recalled units overheating and another “burning and making a loud noise.” Federal regulators say one consumer was left with minor burn injuries to their hand.
The sets, marketed as a “Family Pack,” included five individual flashlights: a 9.5-inch flashlight with 10 LED light sources, two 7.5-inch flashlights with 7 LEDs and two 6-inch flashlights with 5 LEDs. Several D and AA batteries were also included.
Interviewed by Promo Marketing Magazine, representatives at Superex said the affected flashlights had been manufactured in China and sent through a rigorous safety testing regimen prior to sale. When reports of product failure first surfaced, the company had the lights retested, a spokesperson said, but could not recreate a failure under controlled conditions.
In 2011, leading tactical flashlight manufacturer NexTorch, a major supplier to police forces across the nation, recalled about 16,000 3V Lithium-ion batteries. At least one accident has been linked to the apparently-faulty battery. While the description provided by federal investigators is brief, the incident sounds horrific. Reportedly, a NexTorch battery ruptured and caught fire, leaving a consumer’s body, clothes and vehicle burned.
As the Consumer Product Safety Commission notes, recalled batteries will be marked with a trademark symbol (™), rather than one for registered trademarks (®). Affected units were sold individually and packaged with the company’s flashlights. The battery was manufactured in China.
Around 4,400 aluminum flashlights sold at Sportsman’s Warehouse locations nationwide were recalled in 2007, after the retailer received two reports of the products overheating and igniting. One consumer sustained burn injuries to his hands, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.
The recalled flashlights were sold along with batteries marked as Panasonic CR123A Industrial Lithium units. Panasonic, however, says the batteries are counterfeit. Counterfeit batteries are a real problem. Camera manufacturer Canon recently launched a public awareness campaign, educating consumers on a troubling rise in counterfeit batteries. As the company notes, counterfeit products don’t just cut into Canon’s revenues; they can also pose significant safety risks. However, true Panasonic batteries aren’t immune from significant product defects. In February of 2017, the company’s Australian branch recalled thousands of laptop batteries that can overheat and burst into flames.
Continue Reading: 3M Military Combat Arms Earplug Lawsuit
US Consumer Product Safety Commission: Pelican Products Recalls Flashlights and Replacement Battery Packs Due to Fire Hazard
US Consumer Product Safety Commission: Sportsman's Warehouse Recalls Flashlights; Counterfeit Batteries Can Overheat, Posing a Fire Hazard
Popular Mechanics: Recall Alert: Coleman Lithium-Ion Battery Flashlights