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Miami Woman Warns Consumers to Beware Pressure Cooker Explosions

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A Miami woman is warning other consumers to beware of their Tristar Pressure Cookers.

In a recent CBS News article, the woman explained that she was using her pressure cooker to make a stew when the cooker exploded, causing her to suffer second-degree burns. The woman’s incident is one of many reported to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) regarding pressure cookers. She has now filed a personal injury lawsuit against Tristar.

Pressure Cooker Explodes Like a Volcano Erupting

The Miami woman described the cooker explosion as a “volcano erupting,” and stated that the hot stew spewed out, causing burns on her hands, arms, and chest. She claims the scars are likely to remain for life, leaving her feeling distraught at her appearance. She told CBS News that when she looks at herself in the mirror, she cries because she’s not like she used to be.

Like many consumers, the Miami consumer initially thought she must have done something wrong. She released the steam valve twice, and then checked the lock mechanism on the lid. Tristar advertises the lock as being a safety lock that will not allow the user to turn it if there is still pressure inside the cooker. The victim in this case was allegedly able to turn the lock, so she assumed the cooker was safe to open.

It was only after she did research that she discovered other consumers had suffered similar injuries. CBS reported on another Florida couple that was cooking dinner in their Tristar pressure cooker that also exploded. The soup ended up everywhere, including the wall and behind the refrigerator. The husband suffered second-degree burns to his arms. They also filed a new personal injury lawsuit against Tristar and Bed, Bath, and Beyond, where they purchased the cooker.

Tristar Power Pressure Cooker Advertises Safety Mechanisms

Pressure cookers are naturally dangerous because of how they work. They capture steam and increase the pressure inside the pot to cook food more quickly and to help seal in moisture. Families like them because they can make wholesome, tasty meals in the pots more quickly than they can using other methods.

Unfortunately, the cookers have been linked with injuries like severe burns, scars, and disfigurement. Though sometimes user error may be to blame, in many cases, the safety mechanisms the manufacturers use to help protect consumers allegedly do not work as advertised.

For example, Tristar claims that its Power Pressure Cooker XL has a lid safety device that prevents pressure buildup, a backup safety release valve, and a temperature cutoff, to prevent temperatures from getting dangerously high. Tristar also states that the machine has a mechanism that prevents opening of the lid until the pressure is properly vented.

Yet dozens of reports on the CPSC site convey instances where these mechanisms didn’t work as described. In November 2016, a consumer reported she had been cooking apples in the cooker when she let the pressure off and tried to open it. The cooker exploded, causing second- and third-degree burns. Other reports tell similar stories of consumers using the product as directed and still suffering from burns.

Injured consumers who filed lawsuits claim the manufacturers were negligent in their design of the product, and that the safety mechanisms fail to prevent explosions even when the product is used as instructed.