We are investigating accidents resulting from the design of valves on some LP-gas cylinders. In our case, LP-gas was accidentally and uncontrollably released from a one hundred (100) pound LP-gas cylinder when the cap on its pressure relief valve was mistakenly unscrewed at a community picnic. The cap was unscrewed in the process of connecting the cylinder to a gas hose for a portable deep fryer. Once the cap was unscrewed, its enclosed spring and seat (or core) were discharged without warning, leaving a full open port into the cylinder from which all of the liquified petroleum gas (or propane) could escape. Two people were killed and several people were severely burned in the resulting explosion.

The relief valve was designed with external threading so that its cap could be unscrewed or otherwise removed, and once the cap was removed, the escape of all of the propane gas within the LP-gas cylinder could not be prevented. Moreover, neither the cylinder nor its valve were accompanied by adequate warnings of this danger or adequate instructions for avoiding this danger.

Manchester Tank & Equipment Co. of Brentwood, Tennessee designed, manufactured, marketed, or sold this LP-gas cylinder (Model No. M449) which was made in December of 1999. Engineered Controls International, Inc. of Elon College, North Carolina, which does business under the “Rego” brand name, designed, manufactured, marketed, or sold this valve (Model No. 9103D) which was a Rego valve.

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