Plaintiff's intestate purchased from Montgomery Ward & Company a gas water heater which had been manufactured by a third party. The heater was installed by defendant Rulane Gas Company. It worked satisfactorily for fourteen months until the flame went out due to unknown causes. Deceased notified the defendant, and sixteen hours later it sent a repairman to investigate the trouble. He descended to the basement with deceased and struck a match in disregard of a warning not to do so. An explosion followed in which both deceased and the repairman were killed. Investigation showed that the "automatic cut-off" valve was defective, allowing gas to flood the basement after the flame had gone out. After the commencement of this suit by plaintiff, defendant filed a cross-complaint against Montgomery Ward & Company, alleging negligence in failing to inspect the heater and thus failing to determine that it had a defective cut-off valve. The jury returned a verdict against defendant for $25,000 and against the cross-defendant for $12,500. Held, judgment reversed as against cross-defendant Montgomery Ward & Company on the ground that the intervening negligence of the defendant was not foreseeable and made cross-defendant's negligence the remote and not the proximate cause of the injury. Rulane Gas Co. v. Montgomery Ward & Co., (N.C. 1949) 56 S.E. (2d) 689.

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