An Alarming Failure: Troubled History - | Nashville News, Weather & Sports

An Alarming Failure: Troubled History

Over the years, numerous lawsuits and complaints have been filed about ionization smoke detectors that failed to sound the alarm.

In 2006, a family in upstate New York won a $7 million jury verdict against a smoke-alarm manufacturer after they proved that their ionization detectors failed to sound during a fire that killed two people.

Here is the complaint that was filed in U.S. District Court in the Northern District of New York.

In rendering its verdict, the jury concluded that the design of the ionization detector was "defective."

During  that trial, the plaintiffs produced evidence that the manufacturer had received hundreds of complaints about faulty smoke detectors. Here's a summary of those complaints: Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3.

In 2000, a Crossville family filed a $25 million lawsuit against another manufacturer after their ionization detector failed, resulting in the death of two young children in a house fire.

The manufacturer settled the lawsuit, instead of going to trial.

After a 1993 fire killed their 3-year-old son and severely burned their 18-month-old child, an Iowa couple sued a smoke detector manufacturer and won a $21 million verdict. The Iowa Supreme Court ordered a new trial in 2000, and the case was settled.

In 1999 a smoke alarm manufacturer lost a $50 million verdict in St. Louis when it was sued by the parents of two children killed in a fire. The family was awarded $20 million in actual damages and another $30 million in punitive damages after their smoke detector failed to warn them of the fire in their apartment.

According to the St. Louis Post Dispatch, the fire was started in a living room chair and produced a dense smoke that killed a 4-year-old girl and her 6-year-old brother.

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