Saturday, April 9, 2011

Father’s admission in fireball death shouldn’t end controversy; maybe child's demise can prevent others

Imagine this: Majd "Mitch" Al-Shara admitted responsibility for his role in creating the fire ball that landed on and killed his 6-year-old daughter Aliaa last September as she sat next to a fire pit outside their Quail Run mobile home in Lenox Township. She suffered burns over 90 percent of her body and passed away three days later.
A distraught Al-Shara was sentenced to time-served – about four months – after pleading guilty to fourth-degree child abuse, a misdemeanor, for committing a “reckless” act or “act of omission.” 
But that's not the end of his punishment. An undocumented resident, he’s also in the process of being deported to his homeland, Jordan.
Did he mean to hurt her? Prosecutors didn't think so.
Macomb prosecutors mulled charging him with second-degree murder but were dissuaded after the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms bolstered Al-Shara’s claim that it was an accident.
The ATF agreed that when Al-Shara unwittingly poured fuel on the fire, a fire ball shot from the container opening and landed on Aliaa. 
He accidentally created a virtual flame-thrower.
The ATF’s conclusion is in step with accusations by several attorneys nationwide that the container, manufactured by Blitz USA, is dangerous because it does not have a “flame arrester” – basically a screen -- to prevent ignition of a fire ball. There have been other lawsuits related to other incidents throughout the country.
If there’s truly a problem with the container’s design, then it’s incumbent upon Blitz USA to change it to make it safer.
Although nothing can bring back Aliaa, maybe her death can help prevent a future similar tragedy.


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