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Nice afternoon with a couple of small showers as weak front moved back north as a warm front. Some fog again tonight but should be more low clouds as enough wind should keep the fog from being to widespread. An upper level disturbance will pass north of the area late tomorrow with T-storms in northeast Texas. Big question is will the ...

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The following is an archived video story. The text content of that video story is available below for reference. The original video has been deleted and is no longer available.

Woman's clothes catch fire in Macy's

BEAUMONT- by Haley Bull

Doctors at a Galveston burn unit are treating a woman who was hurt in a fire linked to a vacuum cleaner. The Macy's contract employee at Parkdale Mall was using a back-pack style vacuum cleaner when firefighters said there was a short in the cord. It sparked a fire Thursday morning that burned her clothing.

It wasn't the scene shoppers expected to see.

Firefighters, police and EMS stationed outside Parkdale Mall and a landing zone for air rescue.

"There was an employee that was doing clean up work, was using a backpack vacuum cleaner," Capt. Brad Penisson of the Beaumont Fire Department said.

First responders treated the contract worker in Macy's.

"The cord shorted out and caught her clothes on fire. She's got second and third degree burns to her back," Penisson said.

They loaded the the 39-year old woman into a medical helicopter for the flight to a burn unit in Galveston.

"Second and third degree burns, you know, when it gets into the tissue like that, that's when we fly them to Galveston to that burn unit for specialized treatment," Penisson said.

It was the first time a Beaumont vacuum store manager had heard of something like it.

"The incident that happened this morning that's the first I had ever heard of," Dennis Bessire, a parts and service manager at Aerus Home and Vacuum Center in Beaumont, said.

He demonstrated what a back-pack style vacuum cleaner looks like and pointed out potential problems to look for with vacuum cleaner cords.

"Nine times out of ten I'm gonna bet that you're gonna find out that the cord was either some very, very, very poor quality," he said. "But most likely, it will have been nicked, probably taped, probably had tears and cuts in it."

They're problems he said can lead to a short.

"What they'll do is they'll tear through the jacket and expose the bare copper wire in there," Bessire said. When one wire touches the other, he said it can cause the wire to short out, get hot and catch fire.

The manager said a couple of key precautions can prevent a short and fire. He recommended using a grounded cord with a backpack vacuum.

With any vacuum, he said get an expert to inspect the cord.

It's not clear whether those tips would have prevented the accident that injured a contract worker. A worker who began her day at Parkdale Mall and ended up in a medical helicopter for the flight to a burn unit.

Macy's released a statement late Thursday afternoon. It read:

"Macy's is obviously very concerned about the well-being of a supplier's employee who was the victim of an accident in our Parkdale Mall store. We wish her a speedy and full recovery."



 

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