Discount chairs a danger to explode

The motorcycle seat bar stools seemed like the perfect way to jazz up his garage. But Jody Topley had no idea one of the stools was a ticking time bomb.

Jody Topley pulls back the fabric where the explosion tore through after erupting from the chrome base beside him.

Jody Topley pulls back the fabric where the explosion tore through after erupting from the chrome base beside him.

The motorcycle seat bar stools seemed like the perfect way to jazz up his garage.

But Jody Topley had no idea one of the stools was a ticking time bomb.

While on the phone last Friday, he was shocked when one of the stools exploded less than a metre away.

“There was pretty big fireball, like probably about the size of a fitness ball, three feet in diameter.

“There was just a huge percussion, like a giant bang. It blew stuff off the walls in my garage.”

The blast scorched his wrist, partially melted his shirt and burned his pants. Tiny chunks of plastic were also shot into his leg.

“I’ve still got marks there. It looks like I got shot with a shotgun almost.

“It made a helluva bunch of smoke in the garage.”

Topley bought six of the $99 Allied Custom Cycle Stool seats about two weeks ago from Red Deer’s Bianca Amor’s Liquidation Supercentre. at 5239 53rd Ave.

He has since done some research and found the distributor in the U.S. Their representative told him stools of that design had been recalled two years ago from the Chinese manufacturer.

Bianca Amor, who owns the seven supercentres that carry her name, said she has pulled the stools off the sales floor while she looks into the problem.

Amor said on Thursday that she has been trying to reach the distributor to get more information on the products. The stools she purchased were not old stock but had been reproduced by a Chinese manufacturer.

“So I am not really sure what’s happening there but I’m going to get hold of them tonight as well.”

Topley found a website where other owners talked about the seats and a recall letter sent by Sam’s Club customers in 2008 to return similar seats.

Apparently, the shock absorber-like pole the seat sits on was the cause of the problem. Somehow, a chemical got mixed in with the nitrogen in the shock, creating an explosive mixture, he said.

“It’s sensitive to pressure, any kind of heat, even warm heat.”

When he looked closer, the seat does carry a warning underneath to keep away from heat or cigarettes, which he thought was a little odd for a bar stool. The seat that blew also had a defect. The shock leaked and the seat slowly settled if someone sat on it.

The distributor is sending him some boxes to ship them back and they are giving him new stools and reimbursing him for the cost of the stools.

Topley said he’s worried someone else could be put at risk.

“I got hurt, but God forbid if someone got killed, like if a little kid was around the stool. I can only imagine.

“I just want people to be aware that these stools are still out there and they’re damned dangerous.”

pcowley@bprda.wpengine.com