Gillibrand, Bishop Call for Nationwide Recall of Fire Pot Fuel

By WBNG News

Gillibrand, Bishop Call for Nationwide Recall of Fire Pot Fuel

June 17, 2011 Updated Jun 17, 2011 at 2:18 PM EDT

Washington D.C. (WBNG Binghamton) -- In response to reports of severe burn injuries involving liquid fuel and ceramic fire pots, U.S. Senator Kirsten Gillibrand and Congressman Tim Bishop on Friday called for an immediate recall of all forms of liquid fire pot fuel while the Consumer Products Safety Commission evaluates their safety for use.

The New York lawmakers also urged CPSC to investigate manufacturer’s labeling which claimed that the “product was safe for use.”

The potential dangers of liquid fuel have been demonstrated in a number of recent incidents involving accidental ignition, with victims suffering severe burns due to the fuel's resistance to conventional extinguishing methods.

Fourteen-year-old Riverhead resident Michael Hubbard remains in critical condition at Stony Brook University Hospital after suffering severe burns from an explosion of liquid fuel marketed as FireGel, “the Safe Pourable Gel.”

Three other New Yorkers suffered severe burns involving pots and fuel from Napa Home & Garden Inc. Similar products are still on the market from other manufacturers.

“These harmful products have caused unnecessary pain and damage to the lives of many across the nation,” said Gillibrand.“With the summer season underway, we must stop these defective products from being manufactured and sold before more burn accidents take place.”

“Basically, the design of these products means we have napalm for sale in the garden aisle,” said Bishop. “I fear that the upcoming barbecue season could lead to more tragedies unless they stay off shelves pending a full investigation. At that time, we can consider if there is any safe way for this product to be sold or marketed.”

“We want these products off the market so this never happens to anyone else,” said Fran Reyer-Johnson, aunt of burn victim Michael Hubbard.

The ethanol-based fuel burns blue or clear with almost no smoke, making it difficult to determine if the flame in the pot is lit, with an explosion possible if additional fuel is added to the already-lit pot.

This month, the CPSC opened an investigation after eight similar incidents involving FireGel and similar products were reported nationwide. The ceramic fire pot products, a wick-less alternative to traditional Tiki Torches, began appearing in stores in 2008.

“We are concerned that other brands of pourable fuels may cause similar injury to users and ask that this investigation be expanded to include the larger category of all liquid fire pot fuels. While this investigation is underway, we ask that all forms of liquid fire pot fuels be removed from the marketplace to prevent any further injuries to consumers,” Bishop and Gillibrand wrote in their letter to the CPSC.

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