Modified and Makeshift Propane Grills Pose a Serious Threat to Users

Even under ideal circumstances, propane and natural gas grills are already more dangerous than their charcoal, wood, or electric counterparts.

When you add amateur engineering into the equation, the risk of explosions, structure fires, burn injuries, and death rises dramatically.

Storebought grills are, at least in theory, systematically tested for safety. Homemade and modified versions, on the other hand, may have design flaws that only become apparent once someone has been seriously hurt.

The danger of building or modifying a gas grill without adequate qualifications should be fairly self-evident. This means that anyone who encourages or participates in this practice may be liable for any resulting injuries.

A Motorcycle Club Cookout in Warner Robins Ended with One Dead, Three Injured

On November 18th, 2022, the American Patriots motorcycle club was cooking Boston butt roasts and turkeys at their clubhouse on Tabor Drive, as part of an annual fundraiser.

At around 11:20am, the fire department was called to respond to a propane explosion that had injured four people at the event. Two of the injured were taken to the Atrium Medical Center in Macon, where one of them, 67-year-old Jonnie “Breeze” Probert, died of his injuries.

The club was using a makeshift grill, about fifteen feet long, and powered by a combination of propane and wood. Based on an initial investigation, the Warner Robins Police Chief attributed the explosion to a buildup of propane under the grill’s lid, most likely a result of the propane flame being accidentally extinguished. An unidentified member of the club was reportedly attempting to re-light the grill when the explosion occurred.

The Warner Robins Fire Department is urging people to stick to fully tested commercial grills, and to check them for leaks using soapy water before each use, to prevent accidents like this one.

Multiple Parties May Share Responsibility in Propane Grilling Accidents

A properly functioning propane grill is the result of harmonious cooperation between propane suppliers, equipment designers, maintenance companies, and end users.

Because there are so many parties involved, a propane accident might be traceable to just one mistake by one party, or to several mistakes combined.

Although the jury-rigging of the grill was likely a factor in the Patriots clubhouse explosion, the full and exact cause has yet to be determined. In addition to the creator of the grill, liability might fall to:

  • The owner of the clubhouse, or their insurance company.
  • The manufacturer of any grill components that did not function as advertised, or that were marketed for use in amateur grill construction.
  • The propane company, if it did not caution customers against this use of its product.

An experienced propane explosion lawyer could help map out the full sequence of events that led to this accident. A lawyer would also be able to inventory the harm that was done, from property damage, to medical expenses, to the extreme loss that is wrongful death.

Once both the causes and the losses associated with the accident have been established, it becomes possible to determine appropriate compensation for the injured survivors and the family of the deceased.

If you are Jonnie Probert’s next of kin, or if you have also been injured or lost a loved one to a propane explosion in Georgia, reach out to The Stoddard Firm at any time to discuss your options.

Attorney Matt Stoddard

Atlanta Personal Injury LawyerMatt Stoddard is a professional, hardworking, ethical advocate. He routinely faces some of the nation’s largest companies and some of the world’s largest insurers – opponents who have virtually unlimited resources. In these circumstances, Mr. Stoddard is comfortable. Mr. Stoddard provides his strongest efforts to his clients, and he devotes the firm’s significant financial resources to presenting the strongest case possible on their behalf. Matt understands that his clients must put their trust in him. That trust creates an obligation for Matt to work tirelessly on their behalf, and Matt Stoddard does not take that obligation lightly. [ Attorney Bio ]

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