CPSC completes investigation into Severson house fire

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MEMPHIS, Tenn. --A bare Christmas tree is now part of the memorial at the home on Severson Avenue in South Memphis where 10 people lost their lives in September.

It's also a reminder, the first Christmas for family members left behind.

Jerry Brack is a neighbor and family friend of the Jetts and Colliers.

He told WREG, "Of course they're accustomed to seeing the children run around with bright shining faces and opening up toys and skating and riding bicycles, but of course that won't be the case this Christmas."

He says while Mr. Jett, who lost his children in the fire, has been doing better, understandably, it's tough.

"It's very hard on him and not only him but the mother as well," said Brack.

The News Channel 3 Investigators have now learned the Consumer Product Safety Commission has closed its investigation into the fire.

CPSC investigators came to Memphis on September 13, a day after the fire.

An agency spokesperson says its role is to look into what role a product plays in an incident.

The report, which includes pictures of charred living room furniture and other items, outlines the fire department's confirmation that the air conditioner and its cord caused the blaze.

Burglar bars prevented the family from getting out. A smoke alarm was inside, fire investigators don't know whether it sounded.

The CPSC report shows LG is the manufacturer of the air conditioner.  No model number was available.

The investigation notes LG hired its own forensic investigator who was in contact with the CPSC and the Memphis Fire Department.

The report also reveals the father told fire investigators the air conditioner had been repaired, in months prior to the fire, and during that repair, the unit's power cord was "spliced".

The report also indicates family members and neighbors raised questions about the MLGW Smart Meter than had been removed from the scene.

According to the report, MFD investigators told the CPSC it was "standard procedure" for them to remove the meter after a fire.

Fire investigators said they left it for MLGW to pick up, and furthermore, determined it wasn't a contributing factor to the fire since the fire didn't occur near the meter.

Back in this South Memphis, the tight-knit community is simply trying to move forward.

The tree standing in front of the family home is one of 80.

It was part of a recent giveaway for folks nearby, who wanted to start the season, by remembering those lost.

"It's very hard on everybody but we understand they're gone to be with God and we have a lot of love to give so we love each other," said Brack.

According to a 2016 report from the National Fire Protection Association, for the years 2010 to 2014, air conditioners were involved in an average of 2,800 home structure fires per year.

The fires caused an average of 20 civilian deaths, 140 civilian injuries and $82 million in property damage per year.

Research from the same group shows about a third of air conditioner fires start in places like living rooms, dens and family rooms.

Overall, fires involving air conditioners represents a small percentage of fires, but it remains a problem.

Consumers can search the CPSC's Safer Products website to learn more about unsafe products, consumer complaints and recalls.


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