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WASHINGTON (CBS) – Nine companies have issued voluntary recalls of about 2 million containers of fuel gel used in popular home and garden decorations known as firepots — a product Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan has compared to “legalized napalm.”
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said that the fuel has been linked to 65 cases in which people suffered burns when they poured fuel gel into a lit firepot because they couldn’t tell it was still burning. Pouring fuel gel into a burning firepot can cause flash fires and lead to severe burns.
The CPSC said it is aware of 65 incidents resulting in two deaths and 34 hospitalizations of victims who suffered second- and third-degree burns from fuel gel mishaps.
The companies that have issued voluntary recalls include: Bird Brain Inc., of Ysplanti, Mich.; Bond Manufacturing of Antioch, Calif.; Sunjel Company of Milwaukee; Fuel Barons Inc., of Lake Tahoe, Nev.; Lamplight Farms Inc., of Menomonee Falls, Wis.; Luminosities Inc. of St. Paul, Minn.; Pacific Décor Ltd. Of Woodinwille, Wash.; Real Flame of Racine, Wis.; and Smart Solar Inc. of Oldsmar, Fla.
Stores that sell those products have been urged to stop sales of existing inventory and to immediately remove all stock of pourable fuel gel from their shelves.
Some of the companies that have issued recalls are working on production of a design for caps that would prevent flash fires, according to the CPSC.
Anyone who has suffered an injury or experienced a flash fire due to fuel gel products should contact the CPSC by visiting www.saferproducts.gov. You can also visit the CPSC website to find information on contacting firms that have issued recalls.
Flash fires created by the thick, alcohol-based gels are difficult to put out with water and more effectively stopped with dry powder extinguishers, CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum told the Associated Press.
The CPSC began investigating firepots earlier this year and issued a warning about flash fire hazards from fuel gels in June.