Burned Worker Sues Owens-corning Corp.

Suit Says Flammable Solvent Exploded Suddenly

February 10, 1991|By Jackie Powder | Jackie Powder,Staff writer

A 25-year-old Ellicott City man is asking for $5 million in damages for injuries he suffered from a chemical explosion nearly three yearsago.

In a lawsuit filed in Howard County Circuit Court, Andrew J.Kraft claims that he was working with a waterproofing solvent when it exploded and burst into flames, leaving third-degree burns over 30 percent of his body.

The chemical, called "Tuff-n-Dri," is manufactured by the Owens-Corning Fiberglass Corp., based in Toledo, Ohio.

Since the accident, Kraft has undergone skin grafts and has had to have two badly burned fingers amputated. He also has severe scarring from his neck to his waist, said his attorney Dean Kasian.

Kraft is seeking compensatory damages for his physical injuries, mental anguish, medical expenses and loss of income, resulting from the accident.

A lawyer for Owens-Corning declined to comment about the suit.

The lawsuit alleges that "Tuff-n-Dri" is "unreasonably dangerous to users" and that Owens-Corning had failed to provide adequate warnings about the product's "extremely high degree of flammability."

At the time of the accident, Kraft was employed by Charles William Streett, a basement waterproofing business in Elkridge.

He had worked for the company for about a year and a half, and his duties included the application of waterproofing materials.

On February 26, 1988, Kraft was pouring the contents of one 50-gallon drum of "Tuff-n-Dri" into another.

"While the solvent was flowing from one drum to the other, suddenly and without warning the liquid ignited and exploded," the lawsuit states."The resultant explosion caused flaming liquid to splatter onto Andrew J. Kraft's body, producing catastrophic injuries."

Kraft has not worked since the accident and receives workman's compensation benefits. To date his medical expenses have totaled approximately $150,000, Kasian said.

He is living with his parents and trying to enter avocational rehabilitation program for training as a hospital technician.

Kasian said he is not aware of other burn injuries associatedwith "Tuff-n-Dri."

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