Fire Pot Lawsuits: Napa Home and Garden faces lawsuits in South Carolina

Motley Rice representing plaintiffs alleging burn injuries caused by decorative firepot's gel fuel

Motley Rice has filed two personal injury and products liability lawsuits, one in the Court of Common Pleas for the Ninth Circuit and the other in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina against Napa Home and Garden, Inc., and multiple other defendants on behalf of injured parties relating from two separate incidents in South Carolina. The lawsuits allege the plaintiffs suffered severe burn injuries caused by Napa Firelites™ firepots and pourable eco-gel citronella fuel.

Rachael Smilowitz v. Napa Home & Garden Inc. et al. (Ct. of Common Pleas, Ninth Jud. Cir.) was filed by two Charleston-area residents who, on May 21, 2011, were enjoying an evening on their back porch when a firepot suddenly exploded and shot a directional flame, catching one on fire and injuring another as he tried to extinguish the flames. One of the plaintiffs suffered second and third degree burns to her lower body.   

"Thousands of these gel fuel products are on the market and in the hands of American and Canadian consumers who have no idea that they are decorating their patios and porches with something so potentially dangerous," said Motley Rice catastrophic injury lawyer Anne McGinness Kearse. "Our clients have suffered excruciating pain and devastating injuries, and our hope is that this litigation will not only hold the responsible parties accountable but also help prevent similar tragedies from occurring in the future."

Satterfield et al. v. Napa Home & Garden Inc., et al. (D.S.C.) was filed by two Florida residents who, on May 25, 2011, were visiting relatives in Spartanburg, S.C., and experienced a similar situation. The plaintiffs were enjoying an evening on the back patio when a "torch-like" flame engulfed one individual. She remains in the intensive care unit of the Joseph M. Still Burn Center in Augusta, Georgia with 2nd and 3rd degree burns over 30% of her body. Her husband suffered serious burns after attempting to extinguish the fire. Motley Rice is representing the client in this case with co-counsel Doug Smith of JSH&W Law Firm LLP.

Both complaints allege serious injuries due to negligent design, manufacturing and testing, as well as failure to warn on the part of Napa Home and Garden, Inc.; Fuel Barons, Inc.; and Losorea Packaging, Inc.

Napa Firepots, also commonly called FireLites™ and fireburners, are outdoor glass or clay pots with gel fuel containers that can be scented with citronella, making them a popular addition to the outdoor areas of homes. Although marketed as "people safe" and "the cleanest and safest fuel you can buy," the Napa Home and Garden gel is comprised of more than 90 percent ethyl alcohol, a volatile and highly flammable liquid with vapors denser than that of propane. Other manufacturers of these products include Birdbrain, Inc.

The Consumer Product and Safety Commission has issued a warning to consumers about the dangers of these products.