Retail giant Wal-Mart said that it is willing to contribute $25 million towards a proposed $161 million settlement that would settle dozens of lawsuits alleging that the Blitz USA gas cans it sold were defective and could explode.
The manufacturer of the gas cans is now bankrupt and out of business, in large part due to payouts it made to victims of the alleged explosions. Blitz was the largest manufacturer of gas cans in the nation. Wal-Mart sold millions of Blitz-made gas cans and has been named in 24 of the some 80 outstanding lawsuits.
The lawsuits allege that Blitz and Wal-Mart consciously sold a defective product and that the resulting deaths and burn injuries from the explosions were the result of a design flaw that could easily have been addressed with the addition of an inexpensive safety device called a flame arrester. A flame arrester is a piece of mesh or a disk with holes that decreases the risk of an explosion by preventing a spark or flame from entering the can.