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Young Ohio boy severely burned in toy tractor fire

An appalling case of product liability has resulted in the severe burn injuries of a young Ohio boy, who is currently in Nationwide Children's Hospital in Columbus.

In what one person termed "a freak accident," the boy-- a two-year-old resident of the small southeastern town of Albany in Athens County -- was riding a battery-operated toy tractor last Sunday afternoon when it suddenly and inexplicably caught fire and burst into flames.

The quick actions of the boy's father undoubtedly saved the toddler's life.

"The father grabbed the baby and got him off there," said a neighbor of the family. "It happened so fast."

Local firefighters came quickly to the scene, and the decision was made to transfer the boy to Columbus by helicopter. As of the date of the first report issued by hospital spokespersons, no detailed information was reported on the scope of the youngster's injuries, although it is known that his burns are extensive, covering approximately 70 percent of his body.

The father also suffered personal injury in the incident, and was treated for burns on his hands.

Investigators will certainly focus acutely on the toy, given the startling occurrence of the fire and the potential for injuries to occur to other children in Ohio and across the country.

Unfortunately, the toy's manufacturer could not be immediately determined, given that the fire was so severe that it completely destroyed the tractor.

Unquestionably, though, the root cause lies with defective equipment.

"It could have been a motor failure, an electrical short or a battery issue," said Roger Deardorff, the chief of the Albany Area Volunteer Fire Department.

Source: The Columbus Dispatch, "Toy tractor catches fire, burns boy," Jim Woods, June 6, 2012

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