NORTH TEXAS (CBS 11 NEWS) – Imagine taking a shower and your glass door explodes, shattering into tiny pieces, and trapping you inside. It happened to 12-year-old Camden Roy of Dallas.
Camden had just stepped into the shower, the water was running, and his nightly bedtime routine was underway. His mom, Vicki Roy, was downstairs cleaning up.
“All of a sudden we heard an explosion followed by screaming,” the mother said.
Vicki Roy went flying up the stairs running to her child. “I knew something really, really bad had happened.”
She walked into Camden’s room and couldn’t believe what she saw. Camden’s bathroom was covered in tiny pieces of glass. Vicki says she couldn’t even see the floor. Blood covered some of the glass that fallen around the tub. Standing in the corner on top of a corner shower shelf, Camden stood screaming, “I’m bleeding. I’m bleeding.”
Water from the shower washed streams of blood down the drain. Vicki said, “It was a bad scene.”
Camden’s shower door had exploded. “It was a big shattering noise and the whole thing came crashing down,” the youngster explained.
In the last four months, more than two-dozen consumers have complained to the Consumer Product Safety Commission about their shower doors spontaneously exploding.
Consumers write “blood and glass” was everywhere. It sounded like a “grenade” “a gun shot.” My daughter has “tiny glass fragments in her forehead.”
One report finds 22-people died from shattering shower doors between 1978 and 2012.
Online people have posted video of their showers shattering. One person said, “This is a scary way to wake up in the middle of the night.”
The CBS 11 I-Team has learned its not just happening inside homes but also hotels. We dug through court records and found lawsuits where guests say their showers shattered during their stays, while they were no one near the bathroom.
“I hear about breaking shower doors about once a week,” said glass expert Mark Meshulam.
Meshulam has served as a glass expert in many court cases. The I-Team first met him in 2012 when he explained how tempered shower door glass is heated and then cooled. The process makes it extremely durable. He demonstrated how many times he had to slam a hammer into a shower door just to make it shatter.
But Meshulam says the manufacturing process that strengthens the glass also creates the dangerous tension that can act like a ticking time bomb.
“So in this glass right now is a tug of war between the outer layer and the inner layer,” he said as he ran his fingers down the side of a shower door.
According to Meshulam, a lot can trigger that tension – a small crack, the door not sliding correctly, or a problem during the manufacturing process where a microscopic stone gets trapped in the glass.
Meshulam says the glass industry recommended tempered glass in the 1970’s, because it shatters into small pieces rather than large shards, but now he says it’s time for new standards.
“What we’ve learned four decades later is that these types of accidents are happening.”
The CPSC told the I-Team it was working with the glass industry to make shower door glass safer, and now we’ve learned that change is coming.
The I-Team found a petition, the Architectural Glazing Product Briefing Package, which encourages the CPSC to require better testing and safer glass.
The petition cites news stories like ours, and decades of injuries and deaths. In April, the CPSC responded by admitting “failure” and “neglect” in keeping up with standards. The Commission agreed to begin the rule making process to update the agency’s out-of-date standards.
Moms, like Vicki Roy, now wait for the new rules while struggling with children scared to shower. “In 2014, I’m just shocked there is a product out there that can explode for no apparent reason while you’re showering.”
Camden stared at his bathroom covered in glass and blood and said, “I don’t want this to happen again.”
Most people have tempered glass in their showers.
Glass experts say you should check your doors for cracks around the edges. Make sure the top and bottom of the doors are sliding evenly against the bumper, not the metal frame. And, check to make sure your doorknobs and towel racks are installed properly.
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