Kellogg Sued Over Flaming Pop-Tart

W O O D B U R Y, N.J., July 30, 2001 -- A Gloucester County couple has filed alawsuit against Kellogg Co., claiming a flaming Pop-Tart sparked afire that caused $100,000 in damage to their home.

Brenda J. Hurff of Washington Township put a cherry Pop-Tart ina toaster before taking her children to preschool. When shereturned about 10 to 20 minutes later, smoke was coming from theGloucester County home and firefighters already had arrived, saidMauro C. Casci, the Hurffs' attorney. Casci said he was not sure if the pastry became stuck in thetoaster.

Official Cause: 'Unattended Food'

The cause of the July 2000 blaze was listed as "unattendedfood," according to the Washington Township fire department. The lawsuit was filed this week in Superior Court in GloucesterCounty. "We have not been served, so we would have no comment on thisaccident," Kellogg spokesman Richard Lovell said Saturday fromBattle Creek, Mich. "Pop Tarts have been marketed since 1964; theyhave been thoroughly tested and are safe to toast and eat." The lawsuit also names Black & Decker Corp., the manufacturer ofthe toaster. A message left at the office of company spokeswomanBarbara B. Lucas was not immediately returned Saturday afternoon. A spokeswoman told The Philadelphia Inquirer for Saturday'seditions that it would not comment on the lawsuit until next week.

Not the First Pop-Tart Suit

The Hurffs' case isn't the first to be filed over a Pop-Tart.Kellogg settled a lawsuit in 1995 that involved a man fromSpringfield, Ohio. Kellogg agreed to pay $2,400 in damages to the insurance companyof Thomas Nangle, who claimed a fire damaged his kitchen after aPop-Tart he was toasting in 1992 caught fire. The insurer had suedNangle, who in turn argued that Kellogg should pay the damages. An attorney for Kellogg said at the time of the settlement thatthere was no admission of guilt. Syndicated humor columnist Dave Barry wrote a column aboutPop-Tarts in 1993. Barry said the pastries caught fire after he putthem in a toaster and held the handle down for about six minutes. Kellogg cautions consumers on Pop-Tart boxes that they shouldnot leave toasters unattended due to possible risk of fire.

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