Woman claims dry shampoo aerosol turned into ‘flamethrower’ in club toilet
Posted on 25th July 2019 at 20:19
A woman has told the High Court that when she sprayed a dry shampoo in the bathroom of a Dublin nightclub the aerosol turned into a “flamethrower”.
Sam Clarke Kavanagh said the flames hit her hair and she had to throw the aerosol down the toilet, where flames continued to emit from the can.
The 27-year-old nurse, of Sandymount Road, Sandymount, Dublin, has sued Hilda and Jon Conway, of Claremont Road, Sandymount, the then owners of Bronze bar and nightclub on Lower Baggot Street, over the incident on December 4th, 2015.
The court heard that Ms Clarke Kavanagh suffered burns to her right hand and face and that her hair, eyelashes and eyebrows were singed in the incident. She was out of work for seven weeks afterwards.
Ms Clarke Kavanagh says the aerosol of dry shampoo was among a number of toiletries in a box in the bathroom. A naked flame candle was also in the area and the aerosol spray ignited, she said.
The defendants deny liability and say the aerosol dry shampoo was not supplied by them and could have been left there by another patron. They have also pleaded contributory negligence. The bar and nightclub has changed ownership since the 2015 incident, the High Court heard.
Opening the case, Michael Byrne SC, for the plaintiff, said it was a very terrifying incident and there was a naked candle beside the sink.
“The aerosol turned into a flamethrower and flame continued to shoot out 2ft,” he said.
Mr Byrne said a selfie photograph taken before the incident showed Ms Clarke Kavanagh with a small handbag not big enough to hold a lipstick, never mind an aerosol spray.
In evidence, Ms Clarke Kavanagh said she had gone to the nightclub for a friend’s birthday celebration. She went with another friend and when they got there at around 11pm, they ordered drinks and went to the toilets.
Asked by her counsel if she had brought the aerosol of dry shampoo into the nightclub, Ms Clarke Kavanagh said she does not carry dry shampoo with her.
She said she made “a beeline” for the products and sprayed the dry shampoo.
“It very quickly became a flamethrower. I stupidly tried to blow it out and it hit my hair. The flame continued to come out. I threw it down the toilet and the flames were still going on.”
She said the fire alarm went off.
Under cross examination by Colm Condon SC, for the defendants, Ms Clarke Kavanagh said she did not believe another patron left the dry shampoo behind.
Asked why she went to the toilets with her friend if she was not going to use the facilities herself, she said: “Girls go in packs of two.”
In her action, Ms Clarke Kavanagh claims the bathroom facilities at the nightclub were rendered hazardous and unsafe because of the presence of naked flame candles and highly flammable aerosol cosmetic products in close proximity. She also alleges failure to supply non-flammable aerosol cosmetic products and use electronic candles rather than naked flame candles.
The claims are denied and the defence pleads it did not supply the aerosol spray. It has also alleged contributory negligence by the plaintiff on grounds she used the aerosol spray near a candle and was the author of her own misfortune.
The case before Mr Justice David Keane continues on Friday.
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