By Chris Caraveo
Five months was enough.
Now, Sun City West resident Mark Fairall and his attorneys are going public about what happened to him at the local Fry’s.
Back on Feb. 10, Mr. Fairall walked into the store near R.H. Johnson and Meeker boulevards and started to unplug a cord to one of the electric scooters.
That’s when he says the outlet blew-up in his face and melted from an internal outlet fire.
The injuries he would sustain have pushed his medical bills towards six figures, not including after the decimal point.
Mr. Fairall spent 11 days at a hospital in Sun City and nearly died, he said.
He and his attorneys reached out to Fry’s for reimbursement of medical expenses, but that does not appear to be happening in the immediate future.
In March, one of Mr. Fairall’s attorneys filed a complaint with Kroger’s claims company, Sedgwick CMS. Kroger is the parent company of Fry’s.
Their response back to the initial claim states “M660 Kroger West/Fry’s Foods is self-insured and does not carry medical payments coverage under their policy. Therefore, any payment which may be made would be subject to evidence of liability or negligence on the part of M660 Kroger West/Fry’s Food and in exchange for a Full and Final Release.”
Basically, Mr. Fairall and his attorneys need to prove Fry’s was negligent in handling the issue.
A lawsuit is in the works of being filed, he said Thursday.
In the meantime, letting the public know of the potential hazard is his priority, especially in a Sun City West community of mainly senior residents.
Mr. Fairall’s group filed a complaint to the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health on April 29, but Fry’s didn’t respond back until late June.
Apparently, the “2nd Notice of ADOSH Complaint” didn’t reach the proper hands at Fry’s until June 19 while the safety manager was on vacation. She immediately called the store, which told her the second letter was the first they had recalled seeing.
Fry’s got back to ADOSH June 25, acknowledging the incident. Fry’s maintains that proper action was taken to ensure the issue was fixed.
The main concern for Mr. Fairall has been the safety of 18 outlets, which he claims are not properly fixed and installed.
Barb Johnson, the manager of the Sun City West store, reported to Safety Manager Elizabeth Rau that the broken outlet was placed on the company service hub for repair on the day of Mr. Fairall’s injury.
She maintains her employees have continued to walk the store daily and check for any problems.
The store has since replaced the plastic covers on the outlets with metal ones. A Fry’s spokeswoman on Thursday said that all were recently checked and are in good condition.
Fry’s maintains that some customers are limited in movement and will pull on the cord to unplug the scooter from the wall, causing damage to the plug or the outlet.
Mr. Fairall doesn’t believe Fry’s has done enough. He filed a second complaint to ADOSH, claiming that Fry’s is lying about the situation and its lack of documented pictures of the outlets.
Fry’s in April was not able to discuss the details of the complaint filed with its claims company.
“Please know that safety is a core value of Fry’s and the Kroger Co. and that we take safety very seriously every day in our store and thoroughly investigate every incident reported,” the spokeswoman stated in April.
Customers thinking about grabbing an electric scooter should be cautious, and Mr. Fairall said he wants the public to know about his situation before it happens to someone else.
He recommends customers ask employees to help unplug the scooter.
In her response to Brooks Rogers, a safety compliance supervisor at ADOSH, Ms. Rau says the only way to eliminate the possibility of an incident like Mr. Fairall’s from happening again is to stop providing the electric scooters. She says it’s not something they would do and could cause customers to become “extremely upset.”
Fry’s maintains the moment officials are made aware of an unsafe issue, they respond to it immediately.
“The safety of our customers and associates are one of our core values and a top priority each and every day,” the company stated.
Editor’s note: This story appears in the Daily News-Sun July 14 edition, page 1. In the story, the ADOSH is incorrectly named the Arizona Division of Occupational Health Services. It should be as in the online article, the Arizona Division of Occupational Safety and Health. A correction will be made in the July 17 DNS.