Missouri couple blame Chinese companies for toy malfunction

By Charmaine Little | Aug 9, 2018

A fire allegedly caused by a toy boat's malfunction prompted a Missouri couple to sue the manufacturers in federal court.

A couple claims a Chinese-made toy caused a fire in their home.  

ST. LOUIS –– A fire allegedly caused by a toy boat's malfunction prompted a Missouri couple to sue the manufacturers in federal court.

Bryan and Christine Stirton filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri on August 3 against Yiwu Jinghang Toys, Yiwu Pinfirst Import & Export Company, Chinese resident Wang Jinlin, Guangdong Felium Technology Industrial Company and the California-based World Tech Toys.

According to the complaint, Bryan Stirton plugged in his newly-purchased Hobby State brand high-speed drift radio-controlled boats and left for a golf game. The counter caught on fire hours after and caused more than $75,000 worth of damage, the complaint states.

Bryan's daughter was home at the time, the complaint states, and locked herself in the bathroom after hearing strange noises coming from the kitchen.


Bryan and Christine Stirton filed the complaint in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri.  

The Stirtons say each company had a hand in “designing, manufacturing, assembling, distributing, branding,” and promoting the product," including the batteries and power cord that was the alleged source of the fire. The couple are bringing six counts against the companies, including negligence, breach of warranty and product liability. 

According to court documents, the Stirtons previously ruled against the store that sold the toys, ZZ Trading, for more than $109,000.

The Stirtons are represented by Court Kennedy of the Kansas-based firm Gates, Shields, Ferguson, Swall and Hammond.

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