Gas asphyxiation and tire troubles in the news

In the news are two stories where careful reading and consideration is needed to avoid jumping to inappropriate conclusions.

Propane gas killed Iowa family vacationing in Mexico, police say — Las Vegas Review Journal. A cause of death in several old Perry Mason shows results from the murderer turning off the pilot light on a gas heater. What happens is that the oxygen in the room is replaced with methane or propane and the sleeping victim dies from lack of oxygen. Since the victim can expel CO2, there is no strangulation struggle. Preventing suicides this way is why helium balloon tanks often come with 20% air these days. The question is why the odorant in the propane was not noticed.

In the RV world, this is why gas appliances have the combustion path outside and why some catalytic or other heaters that burn fuel inside have oxygen depletion sensors and why the stove says it is not to be used for space heating.

Goodyear Knew Of Dangerous RV Tire Failures For Over 20 Years: Court Docs by Ryan Felton — There is an understandable tendency to blame tire (and other) failures on the manufacturer rather than to consider poor maintenance or improper use. Sometimes it is difficult to determine exactly why a failure occurred, especially if it takes time to develop. Goodyear motorhome tires, the G159 275/70R 22.5 seems particularly problematical and people have been going after Goodyear for its failures and damages for years.

Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. received failure claims over a tire that was installed on thousands of RVs and is linked to at least nine deaths, dozens of injuries, and hundreds of crashes as early as 1996, the first year it was manufactured and installed on motorhomes, according to court documents obtained exclusively by Jalopnik. The documents also show that Goodyear appears to have vastly underreported the number of failure claims it had received over the tire to federal regulators during a previous inquiry more than a decade ago, and confirm the tire is almost certainly still on the road today.

One problem with these stories is that it is difficult to properly place the complaint. It does cover suggested causes of failure but that doesn’t really refute the manufacturer’s claims. It doesn’t provide any information to properly weigh the significance of the rate of failure or other relevant variables. It doesn’t even provide judgments from court proceedings being that it a story about the issue going to court based on the complaint.

What you can learn from what is known so far: (1) don’t take shortcuts with RV energy sources and (2) take care of your tires and monitor them closely.

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