Employees Injured in Cooking Fire at Chicago Macy’s Store

November 26, 2014

Cooking Accident Sends Four Macy’s Employees to the Hospital With Burns

When most people imagine a gas explosion or flash fire at a workplace, they probably think about dangerous professions like construction, oil & gas work, or electrical work. However, tragic accidents can happen at almost any workplace, and they are often most dangerous when they aren’t an expected risk of the job. A recent cooking fire at a Chicago Macy’s store is an example of how a sudden fire can cause serious injuries for unsuspecting workers in any industry, as four workers were hurt during the seemingly safe activity of enjoying an employee breakfast.

Macy’s Cited by Fire Department After Aerosol Can Explodes and Causes Fire

The incident took place at Macy’s State Street location just before 10:00 a.m. on Friday, November 21, while employees of the store were gathered for a pancake breakfast before the store opened. A flash fire broke out when a can of aerosol butane exploded during the event. Although the fire quickly put itself out, four employees suffered burns in the short blaze and were transported to the hospital. At least one of those four employees suffered severe burns to the face, while the other three reported more minor burn injuries. Thankfully, no customers were present in the store at the time of the accident because the store had not yet officially opened for the day.

According to reports of the incident, the aerosol can that started the fire ruptured because it had overheated during the cooking event, and Macy’s received a citation for improper handling and storage of butane.

What Are the Rights of Employees Who Are Hurt by a Fire or Explosion in the Workplace?

Although a lot depends on the details of each individual case of injury, most workers generally have the right to recover compensation for on-the-job injuries under workers’ compensation programs. Injured employees may also have the right to take legal action against a negligent company other than the employer if it contributed to the injuries, such as the manufacturer of a dangerous product or defective equipment. However, the complexity of the laws involved can make the legal process following an injury confusing, especially for workers who get hurt in unusual accidents. Because their rights to compensation may hinge on unclear questions, a thorough investigation of each accident and a strong understanding of injured workers’ rights are vital for the individuals and families who suffer when something goes wrong in a workplace.

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