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Consumer Alert: Pourable Fuels for Firepots, Tiki Torches and Similar Products


In advance of summer celebrations and the Fourth of July weekend, the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs urges caution with the use of pourable fuels for firepots, tiki torches and similar products.

These products have been linked to horrific accidents throughout the United States, at least one of which occurred in New Jersey, in which children and adults suffered severe burns. According to published reports, the burning fuels have clung to skin and clothing, and could not be extinguished even when victims and bystanders attempted to smother the flames.

On June 22, 2011, the Consumer Product Safety Commission (“CPSC”) announced a voluntary recall of Pourable NAPAfire and FIREGEL Gel Fuel bottles and jugs, distributed by Napa Home & Garden (“Napa”), of Duluth, Georgia, and sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, Restoration Hardware and other stores.

In announcing the voluntary recall, the CPSC stated that: “The pourable gel fuel can ignite unexpectedly and splatter onto people and objects nearby when it is poured into a firepot that is still burning. This hazard can occur if the consumer does not see the flame or is not aware that the firepot is still ignited. Fuel gel that splatters and ignites can pose fire and burn risks to consumers.”

The CPSC noted that Napa is aware of 37 reports of incidents, including 23 burn injuries to consumers.

Published reports indicate that firepots manufactured by at least one other company, have been linked to similar incidents and burn injuries.

Consumers should be aware of the burn and poisoning hazards that can occur from using illuminating fuels in firepots, tiki torches, and other consumer products.

  • Never refuel a hot product – even if you believe there is no longer a flame -- as this can create a serious situation of the fuel spattering and burning those nearby.
  • Never pour fuel over an open flame. This is a potentially hazardous activity, with a risk of burns and uncontrolled fires.
  • If refueling such a device:
    • First look for flames. Then cautiously feel around the vicinity of the flame, as some flames are difficult to see.
    • Only add fuel when flames are extinguished, and the container is cool to the touch.
  • Keep such fuels out of the reach of young children. When not in use, store it away from children. Always replace the child-resistant cap after use.
  • Illuminating fuels generally consist of petroleum distillates, a specific class of hydrocarbon chemicals. This class of chemicals is particularly hazardous if ingested and aspirated into the lungs, where it can cause chemical pneumonia, pulmonary edema or death.
  • Illuminating fuels should never be transferred to other containers, as young children may mistake the new container with containers of common drink items.

To learn more about the CPSC and Napa voluntary recall of the NAPA fire and FIREGEL gel Fuel bottles and jugs, go to http://www.cpsc.gov/.

If you have complaints or concerns about the Napa or similar products, please contact the New Jersey Division of Consumer Affairs at 800-242-5846 or www.NJConsumerAffairs.gov.

   
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