Updated: 6:36 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009 | Posted: 10:21 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 22, 2009

Recall Triggered By KIRO 7 Expands; More Deaths Reported


More deaths are being blamed on a flammable bathrobe that KIRO 7 Consumer Investigator Amy Clancy first warned about months ago.

At least nine people have now died while wearing an apparently flammable bathrobe sold by Blair. Thursday, the US Consumer Product Safety Commission reissued and expanded its recall, warning consumers to stop wearing the robes and any chenille garment made by the same company, A-One Textile and Towel, of Karachi, Pakistan.

This new action comes months after Clancy raised the first red flag by telling the story of Patti Bingham.

Bingham, of Tenino, knew something was wrong when flames quickly shot up the arm of her 100% cotton chenille Blair bathrobe last December.

“Flame, all the way up,” she told Clancy earlier this year. “I kind of went into shock and I said fire. Fire!”

After calling Blair, the company that sold her the robe, her husband Cody Bingham called KIRO 7.

“I want people to be made aware of how dangerous this item is,” he told Clancy. “Somebody’s going to die, or be extremely disfigured.”

Cody Bingham was right. Shortly after the KIRO 7 Investigation aired, the Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of 162,000 Blair chenille robes like Patti Bingham's.

Testing had confirmed the robes did not meet U.S. flammability standards for safety. Weeks later the CPSC revealed six deaths were being attributed to the same bathrobe. Now the CPSC tells KIRO 7, four more people have died, allegedly due to their Blair robes catching fire.

Blair has also received a report about a different chenille item catching fire, which is why the recall has been expanded to include 138,000 more items, all women's chenille clothing made by A-One Textile and Towel, sold by Blair.

Blair says it is working “aggressively” to retrieve the bathrobes, and is recalling the additional items out of “an abundance of caution.” See entire statement here.

Meanwhile, Clancy asked the CPSC about the discrepancy over the number of deaths. If four more have been attributed to the Blair bathrobes, in addition to the six revealed this past June, why is the total number not 10? The CPSC says there is now some question about whether one of the original six deaths was related to the robes.

The news release from the CPSC follows:

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and Blair LLC, of Warren, Pa., are expanding Blair’s voluntary recall of women’s full length chenille robes to include additional chenille robes and three other chenille products all manufactured by A-One Textile & Towel. CPSC and Blair also are re-announcing the earlier recall of women’s robes.

In April 2009. Blair recalled 162,000 chenille robes after it learned of three robes catching on fire, including one report of second degree burns. Blair then received several reports of deaths allegedly due to robes catching fire. This prompted a second news release in June 2009 to again alert consumers to the burn hazard for the chenille robes. After this re-announcement, Blair received four additional reports of deaths allegedly due to the robes catching fire. Three of these victims were cooking and a fourth was tending a pellet stove; three of the four victims were in their 80s and one was in her 70s. All nine reported deaths occurred prior to the April 2009 announcement of the recall.

Blair has received one report involving one of the additional garments described below catching fire; no injuries have been reported related to these garments. Blair decided to expand the recall to include all women’s chenille wearing apparel manufactured by A-One Textile & Towel.

Name of Products: Full Length Women’s Chenille Robes Women’s Chenille Jacket Women’s Chenille Lounge Jacket Women’s Chenille Top

Units: About 138,000 162,000 units were previously recalled in April 2009

Manufacturer A-One Textile & Towel, of Karachi, Pakistan. A-One Textile & Towel manufactured all of the products recalled in April 2009. Blair is expanding its recall to all women’s chenille wearing apparel manufactured by A-One.

Hazard: Some of these products fail to meet the federal flammability standard and present a risk of serious burns to consumers if the garments are exposed to an open flame.

Incidents/Injuries: Since announcing the recall in April 2009, Blair has received nine reports of deaths allegedly due to the originally recalled robes catching fire. Blair has received one report on one of the additional garments catching fire; no injuries have been reported.

DOCUMENT:List Of Recalled Blair Chenille Product Descriptions, Item Numbers

Remedy: Consumers are urged to stop wearing the garments immediately. Contact Blair LLC for information on returning the products and to receive a refund or a $50 gift card for Blair merchandise.

Consumer Contact: For more information, call Blair toll-free at (877) 392-7095 between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. ET Monday through Saturday, visit the firm’s Web site at www.blair.com/recall, or contact the firm by e-mail at blairproductrecall@blair.com.

To see photos of the recalled products, go to http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml10/10017.html

Blair made the following statement regarding the expanded recall:

"Over the past several months, we have been working aggressively to retrieve the 162,000 chenille robes that were previously recalled in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC). In June we received one non-injury fire incident report on another chenille product. After determining that this product was purchased from the same manufacturer as made the recalled robes, we identified some additional chenille products which were purchased from the same supplier. The vast majority of these items were sold prior to December 2004. Out of an abundance of caution we are recalling these additional products as well."

Previous Stories: June 12, 2009: 6 Deaths Reported In Bathrobe Recall Triggered By KIRO 7 April 27, 2009: KIRO 7 Story Triggers Nationwide Recall Of Bathrobes

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