SUN CITY WEST, AZ - The state Division of Occupational Safety and Health is now investigating an incident involving a customer who suffered an electrical shock inside a Fry's store in Sun City West.
Mark Fairall told ABC15 he was on a routine shopping trip at his neighborhood store. Fairall uses a walker, so he also relies on the motorized scooters offered as a service to customers at the store to navigate the aisles.
Fairall said the scooters are all plugged in along a wall on one side of the store and customers usually get one themselves.
Fairall said as he went to pull the plug to get a scooter, he was jolted by a big shock.
"I pulled the plug, and the plug blew up, melted in front of me, and flames were shooting out of the wall outlet," said Fairall.
He said the electrical shock when through his hand, burned his hand, and came out of his right foot.
The 69-year old man described himself as "in a daze" after it happened. He drove himself to a local emergency care center.
Fairall said a few days after the incident he was hospitalized for 11 days and suffered a staph infection.
"I'm seeing 15 doctors now. The most severe thing I'm concerned about is my neurology, I used to have one seizure a year, now I'm having up to three seizures a week," said Fairall.
While he was hiring an attorney, the state's Occupational Safety and Health office was looking into the matter. A safety inspector told ABC15 that he could not comment at this time as the incident was still under investigation.
Documents obtained by ABC15 Arizona show communications between a Fry's safety manager and the state safety inspector.
In a letter written by a Fry's safety manager, she states that customers often "pull or tug on the cord" to unplug these carts. She stated that the company provided these carts as a service to customers. They were very popular in the Sun City West community, which has a lot of elderly residents. Most stores at about five motorized carts, the Sun City West store had more than 30. While store staff did oversee the area, they left the carts open for access so that customers could get one themselves.
Fairall said many elderly customers were unable to bend down to unplug the cords due to health problems. He suggested the store move the outlets higher, so they were easier to access.
"If you were to ask me what is the bottom line thing I want Fry's to do, I would say when you use the carts have the store employee pull the plug, not the customer," said Fairall.
A spokeswoman representing Fry's said they took customer safety and all complaints very seriously and worked to address them. She went on to tell us all of the outlets at the Fry's store had been inspected and deemed safe, and stressed all of their stores were safe for customers.