John O'Brien Jan. 28, 2015, 1:01pm


PHILADELPHIA - A Johnstown couple recently filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of a kerosene heater and the store in which they purchased it, alleging the heater was defective and caused a fire in their home.

Bryant and Tracy Thomas sued Sengoku and ACE Hardware in December in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas, alleging negligence over the Heat Mate Kerosene Heater.

The defendants removed the case to U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania on Jan. 20.

The couple purchased the product from an ACE Hardware store. There were allegedly several issues with the fill cap in the heater, which is meant to protect the opening at the base of the tank.

The fill cap on the product allegedly was missing two flanges that lock the cap in place, and the cap was also missing a rubber seal used to create an airtight seal to prevent kerosene from escaping.

The plaintiffs were using the heater on Dec. 16, 2013, when their pet knocked it over, causing a fire in their home. They alleged the product's automatic safety shutoff device didn't work properly.

The lawsuit blamed Sengoku for manufacturing the product with a defective fill cap and alleged ACE Hardware was liable for selling the heater.

The couple are seeking more than $50,000, plus court costs They are represented by Joseph L. McGlynn, of de Luca Levine, LLC in Blue Bell.

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