In Wake of Truck Accident, South Carolina Attorney Warns Of Ever Present Risk of Serious Burns

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Bert Louthian of the Louthian Law Firm in Columbia, S.C. says burns are the among most painful and catastrophic injuries.

But those household gas cans, used to fuel lawnmowers and yard fires, can cause serious burn injuries if not handled properly. Be careful.

A fiery South Carolina crash involving a gas tanker truck and a dump truck serves as a reminder that the risk of serious burn injuries is always present, a South Carolina attorney cautions.

"You need to exercise caution at work, on the highway -- and even at home, where the gas can used to fill your lawnmower can pose a significant risk of burns if not handled properly, or if it is defective in some way," says Bert Louthian, of the Louthian Law Firm, P.A., in Columbia, S.C.

The Sept. 11 accident on Interstate 585 in Spartanburg, S.C., sent the driver of a gas tanker truck to the hospital with serious burns over 30 percent of his body, after the fuel tanker slammed into the back of a dump truck and caught fire. The driver of the dump truck had stopped in the road because logs from a logging truck had fallen into the road after striking a bridge. The dump truck driver rescued the tanker driver from the burning wreckage.

Burns can cause some of the most painful and debilitating injuries and in the worst cases fatal injuries. Each year in the United States, 1.1 million burn injuries require medical attention. Approximately 4,500 people die and up to 10,000 people die from burn related infections, according to the Shriners Hospital for Children, which specializes in treating burn injuries.

Fires caused by gasoline are a major factor in burn injuries, and children ages 13 and older are among those at the highest risk for gasoline and other flammable substance burns.

In 2008, 74 people died in fire deaths, according to the South Carolina State Fire Marshal's Office. The leading causes were cooking accidents and electrical-related fires.

In the home and workplace, burns occur from hot stoves, scalding liquids, electrical wiring, lasers, defective curling irons and heaters, outdoor grills and flammable liquids. Household gas containers may cause serious injury, if ignited.

"This time of year, many people burn leaves when they start to fall," Louthian said. "But those household gas cans, used to fuel lawnmowers and yard fires, can cause serious burn injuries if not handled properly. Be careful."

Here are some tips for storing gasoline:

  • Store gasoline only in approved gasoline containers.
  • Store gasoline in well-ventilated outside storage area that is detached from your house, such as a shed or garage, preferably in a locked cabinet. Place out of reach of children;
  • Check gasoline containers for compliance with the ASTM F852 standard, which establishes performance requirements for portable gasoline containers intended for reuse by consumers. The compliance is in writing on the side or underside of all approved plastic gasoline containers.
  • Don't store gasoline anywhere inside a home or vehicle.
  • Don't handle gasoline near a flame source such as matches, lighters and pilot lights on stoves and water heaters.
  • Don't put anything other than gasoline in a gas container, and keep the minimum amount required.

About The Louthian Law Firm

The Louthian Law Firm, P.A., of Columbia, South Carolina, has been obtaining fair compensation for South Carolina accident victims since 1959. The firm was founded by Herbert Louthian, who has more than 40 years of trial experience and is licensed to practice in all courts in South Carolina. The Louthian Law Firm focuses on personal injury cases involving burn injuries, boat, car, truck and motorcycle accidents, medical malpractice and other serious and catastrophic injuries throughout South Carolina. For a confidential case evaluation, contact the firm by phone at (866) 410-5656 or visit the firm's website at


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