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Vacuum cleaner linked to Macy's contract worker's burns at mall
UPDATE -- BEAUMONT - Doctors have treated and released a Beaumont woman for burns linked to a vaccum cleaner accident at the Macy's store at Parkdale Mall.
Marilu Jasso, 39, of Beaumont, was treated Thursday at the burn unit at UTMB in Galveston.
Firefighters say Jasso is a contract worker at Macy's at Parkdale Mall. According to Beaumont fire investigators, she was use a backpack style vacuum cleaner Thursday morning when there was a short in the electrical cord. Her clothes caught on fire.
She suffered 2nd and 3rd degree burns to her back. Jasso was flown by medical helicopter to Galveston.
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."