Father of toddler killed in house fire sues heater maker

adam.lynn@thenewstribune.comJune 16, 2014 

The father of a Tacoma boy who died in a house fire three years ago has sued the manufacturer of a space heater thought to have sparked the blaze.

Shantell Duncan seeks unspecified damages for himself and the estate of his 2-year-old son, Shantell Duncan II, according to the lawsuit, which was filed May 30 in Pierce County Superior Court.

The suit names the Jarden Corp., headquartered in New York state, and two subordinate businesses as defendants. Efforts to reach the firm for comment were unsuccessful.

The lawsuit, filed by attorney Terry Lumsden, contends Jarden designed, manufactured and sold the defective space heater that started the fire that killed Duncan’s son.

“Defendant Jarden had a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect its customers from its dangerous products,” according to the lawsuit.

Duncan II, known as Shammy, and his mother, Michelle McKim, died May 30, 2011, in a house in the 900 block of South Puget Sound Avenue.

A passer-by called for help after hearing a smoke detector sounding inside the house and seeing the windows filled with smoke. Firefighters kicked in the door and found mother and child incapacitated. They later died.

Investigators said a portable heater started a small fire in the living room, filling the home with smoke. Medical examiners said McKim and her son died of carbon monoxide poisoning from the fumes.

Adam Lynn: 253-597-8644

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