Massachusetts woman suffers fatal burn injuries

As we often discuss, significant burn injuries can cause excruciating pain or even death. What can make burn injuries even more severe is if a person is wearing flammable fabric and comes in contact with a spark or open flame. In these cases, the flammable fabric can end up causing a person’s entire body to go up in flames.

Sadly, this appears to be what happened to a Northampton, Massachusetts, woman on Saturday afternoon. The woman’s husband told investigators his wife had been cooking at their backyard barbeque pit around 3:30 p.m. when she somehow caught on fire.

Recounting the traumatic incident, the husband said he had looked out a window of their home and saw his wife’s clothes on fire. He then called firefighters and ran to her aid. Officials said the husband suffered minor burns trying to put out the flames that had engulfed his wife.

Unfortunately, the 50-year-old woman died the following day at Massachusetts General Hospital in Boston as a result of the injuries she sustained. Police have said the incident is not considered suspicious, but an investigation is under way.

One of the things authorities could be looking into is how the woman’s clothes caught on fire. The government regulates flammability of fabric to some degree, but the regulations are minimal at best. There are still some clothing manufacturers that knowingly sell clothes made of flammable fabrics.

If that is the situation in this case, the woman’s husband may be able to file a wrongful death lawsuit against the clothing manufacturer. Manufacturers, importers of fabric, clothing factories, designers, testing labs, retail establishments and others can be held liable for burn injuries resulting from flammable fabric.

Source:, “Northampton woman dies of burns,” June 12, 2012