"VAPORS MAY IGNITE EXPLOSIVELY. PREVENT BUILDUP OF VAPORS. DO NOT STORE INDOORS. KEEP AWAY FROM HEAT, SPARKS, AND FLAME. DO NOT SMOKE. DO NOT USE OR STORE NEAR FLAME, PILOT LIGHTS, STOVES, HEATERS, ELECTRIC MOTORS, OR OTHER SOURCES OF IGNITION..."

That's a standard warning, in raised capital letters, on the side of a red plastic Blitz gas can.

In larger raised caps, the following warning also appears:

"DANGER. EXTREMELY FLAMMABLE. HARMFUL OR FATAL IF SWALLOWED. VAPORS CAN EXPLODE. KEEP OUT OF REACH OF CHILDREN."

These statements of the obvious seem to cover all the bases, though it's hard to imagine any adult of sound mind and average intelligence needing to be told any of this.

The Three Stooges or Yosemite Sam might use a lighted match to check the level in a container of gasoline and miraculously survive the combustion, but people who try a stunt like that in real life are just plain ignorant and have no one but themselves to blame.

That's our opinion, but apparently not everyone agrees with us.

For example, a Utah man decided to stoke the fire in his smoldering wood stove by pouring gasoline onto it. The resulting explosion destroyed his trailer home, severely burned him, and killed his 2-year-old daughter.

Instead of taking the blame, he sued Blitz. The court concluded that the company was responsible for the man's impossible-to-understand act and awarded him $4 million. The case is being appealed.

The Record has reported on several such suits filed against Blitz in the U.S. Court for the Eastern District of Texas over the last five years.

The suits have taken their toll and now Blitz, the maker of 75 percent of the portable gas cans sold in America, is laying off more than 100 employees and closing the Oklahoma-based manufacturing plant it's operated for nearly 50 years.

Another triumph for greedy litigants, their lawyers – and future Chinese gas can manufacturers.

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