Nine companies have recalled about two million bottles and jugs of the gel fuel used in outdoor patio decorations known as firepots because of the risk of serious burns. The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the gel fuel has been linked to several dozen cases in which people were burned when they couldn’t tell whether the flame was out. Pouring more gel on a burning pot can lead to dangerous flares or burns.
The nine companies are Bird Brain Inc. of Ypsilanti, Mich.; Bond Manufacturing of Antioch, Calif.; Sunjel Company of Milwaukee, Wis.; Fuel Barons Inc. of Lake Tahoe, Nev.; Lamplight Farms Inc. of Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Luminosities Inc. of St. Paul, Minn.; Pacific Decor Ltd. of Woodinville, Wash.; Real Flame of Racine, Wis.; and Smart Solar USA of Oldsmar, Fla. Marshall Group of Elkhart, Ind., pulled out of the public announcement at the last minute. The CPSC is continuing to talk with that company about a voluntary recall.
Folks were urged to stop using the pourable gel fuel and to contact the manufacturer or distributor for a refund. The CPSC warns that “stop, drop and roll” or trying to smother the flames does not work. Flash fires created by the thick, alcohol-based gels are difficult to put out with water and more effectively stopped with dry powder extinguishers. The Commission began investigating firepots a few months ago and issued a flash fire hazard warning on pourable gel fuels in June. This is a dangerous product and shouldn’t be used, according to the CPSC.
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