June 13, 2011

Napa Fire Hazards: Gel in firepots could cause serious burn injuries

The New York Times reported that in separate instances over the course of a week two gel firepots exploded, causing serious burn injuries.

The firepots discussed in the article were purchased at Bed Bath and Beyond and are fueled by gel and scented with citronella to act as a bug repellent. The Times reported that it informed the manufacturers, NAPA Home and Garden, Inc., about the incidents and the company asked the retailer to pull the items from the shelves until they could be properly labeled.

Catastrophic injury lawyer Anne McGinness Kearse said, "People purchase these firepots thinking they are similar to candles. To the contrary, the fire gel used to fuel the flame consists of more than 90% ethanol. It is a clear, colorless, volatile and flammable liquid with vapors denser than that of propane. Simply put, lighting the firepots can be like lighting gasoline. As the vapors escape the bottle or firepot they can create a torch-like directional flame. That flame has been described in several such cases as an exploding flash. People have no idea they are dealing with something so potentially dangerous."

The Consumer Product Safety Commission is currently conducting an investigation into the firepots and fuel. Read their warning to consumers about the dangers of Napa firepotsRead more about the nationwide reports of firepot incidents on The New York Times' City Room blog.

"I don't want others go through what we have gone through these last few weeks. The worst part is people who already bought these products have no idea how dangerous they may be. I didn't. My husband didn't. I believe the warning labels are completely insufficient," said a South Carolina victim of a gel fuel explosion who suffered serious burns to her legs and feet.

Read the full article on exploding firepots in The New York TimesGood Morning America also reported that inadequate warning labels could have led to these injuries.  The Post and Courier and WCBD-TV also reported on this consumer safety issue. 

On June 22, 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission issued a recall of the pourable gel used in the firepots.

Motley Rice catastrophic injury attorneys are investigating serious burn cases resulting from firepots. If you or a loved one have been injured by NAPA Home and Garden firepots or similar products, such as the decorative firepots manufactured and sold by BirdBrain, Inc., please contact us.