Illinois couple severely burned after Pam explodes in kitchen


MT. CARMEL, IL (WEHT News) – A Tri-State couple is part of a lawsuit against one of the most common cooking ingredients in American kitchens, Pam Cooking Spray.

They along with several other people say the product is dangerous and should be removed from store shelves.

Most of us don’t think about an explosion when we’re cooking, but that is what a Tri-State couple says happened to them when a can of Pam Cooking Spray was in their kitchen.  We want to warn you some of the images in this story are graphic.

A Greenville, Texas 911 call rang in last year, Dispatcher: What’s going on? Caller: She was cooking, and something exploded, and she’s got burns all over her arms and her face.

According to a Greenville, Texas college student that explosion was a can of Pam Cooking Spray, attorney’s say that is not the only case, six different lawsuits were filed against ConAgra foods the parent company to Pam Cooking Spray, that includes one case from the Tri-State.

I didn’t realize it at the time of the explosion, because I was just thinking gas because I actually heard the sppppp and then the boom, that’s how I got my hands to my face so I could block the flames according to Mt. Carmel resident Brandon Banks.

According to Banks and girlfriend Andrea Bearden, their life hasn’t been the same since May of 2018. That’s when they say a bottle of Pam Cooking Spray at their home in Mount Carmel was two and a half feet from the stove they were using when the can exploded in their face.  

“The domino effect of an incident like this is a lot more than anyone would ever realize,” said Bearden. 

A similar situation was caught on camera at a Houston restaurant. The cook says he put a can of Pam down in front of a grill and the can exploded. 

As for Banks and Bearden, it took them over three months to recover, both were treated at University of Louisville Hospital, Brandon with burns on over 20% of his body.

Bearden and Banks said “Do not use the Pam Cooking Spray at all, if you do, do not use it around open flames. 

People like Banks and Bearden want Pam to recall its products, but that does not seem likely.

Jon Harris the spokesperson for conAgra spoke to Eyewitness News Tyler Druin, Tyler asked, whomever is issuing recalls has there been a thought of a recall to be issued on any of Pam’s products nationwide? ConAgra’s spokesperson said, “I think the best answer here Tyler is we fully stand by this product, this product is safe, it’s 100% safe and effective.”

As for the label on the back of the can, it clearly states that the cooking spray is flammable and can explode if left near or on a hot surface.

Dan Hare with ConAgra Foods says the company stands by its product.

“Please know the safety of our products and our consumers is always our top priority.

When PAM is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100-percent safe and effective product.   PAM Cooking Sprays is used safely and properly by millions of people several times a day, every single day. The product has been used for more than 50 years for the baking, grilling and cooking needs of consumers everywhere.

All PAM Cooking Sprays include large, clear instructions, warnings and cautions on both the front and back of the packaging alerting consumers that the product should be used responsibly as it is flammable, and that it should not be left on a stove or near a heat source, should not be sprayed near an open flame, and should not be stored above 120°F.

The vented can design in question, was used in market on a limited number of cans over the last several years. We redesign packaging in the ordinary course of business, and just as we introduced the vented can years ago, we removed it from production, earlier this year, as we sought to standardize our cans across the entire aerosol cooking spray product line. So, that design is no longer in production. 

We fully stand by this product.  To reiterate, when PAM is used correctly, as instructed, it is a 100-percent safe and effective product.”

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(This story was originally published on May 7, 2019)

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