2005 - Volume #29, Issue #4, Page #05[ Sample Stories From This Issue | List of All Stories In This Issue | Print this story | Read this issue]
Stanley Thermos "Explosion" Causes $88,000 In Damages
One morning a few months ago, Ron Greenberg was getting ready for work, filling his 2-year-old Stanley stainless steel thermos with coffee. All of a sudden, the handle broke away from the side of the thermos and black powder started shooting out like smoke. Greenberg told a local TV station it was like a smoke bomb going off. "It filled the whole kitchen and living room with a cloud of black smoke."
The black stuff was very fine charcoal and it infiltrated throughout the Greenberg's house, aided by the furnace fan, which was running at the time. "Everything was black," says Ron's wife, Maureen. "The floors, furniture, walls and the inside of every cabinet and closet. It was unbelievable how it spread."
They called both Stanley and their insurance company and then brought in a professional cleaning company, which worked on the house every day for weeks to clean up the mess. The final bill was a whopping $77,000, plus $8,500 for new carpet and $3,000 worth of miscellaneous expenses, such as the cost of a hotel stay.
"We couldn't believe this could happen from an ordinary thermos. Stanley told us there had been a small group of 50 or so bad thermoses," says Maureen. However, when a local TV station ran a story on the thermos, they tracked down at least two other people who had had the same problem û and both lived within a couple hours of the Greenbergs. Stanley admitted after the story ran that the problem might be more wide-spread.
After initially refusing to pay the cost of the Greenberg's cleanup, Stanley eventually did reimburse the family's insurance company. CBS News is now considering doing a story on the thermos incident and a representative of the Consumer Product Safety Commission showed up recently to investigate. Meanwhile, if you have a Stanley thermos that you bought within the past couple years, check the bottom of the container. The defective models have the number "C02" or "D02" on the bottom.
We'll update this story in future issues as it becomes more clear how many defective thermoses are involved.
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