There is a new development in the Consumer Product Safety Commission’s investigation into reports that firegel is catching fire. The gel is used to fuel ceramic pots. A recall is issued to prevent further injuries from the product.

Fire and burn injuries prompt firepot recall

The CPSC announced a recall of the NAPAfire and FIREGEL Gel Fuel adding that Napa Home and Garden is aware of 37 incidents including 23 burn injuries. Napa previously put a precautionary stop order on sales of the firepots and firegel after reports of injuries. Now, 460,000 bottles and jugs are recalled, because the CPSC says the gel fuel can ignite and splatter when it’s poured into a firepot that is still burning.

Napa Home and Garden is working with the CPSC and voluntarily issued the recall.

Previously, Napa Home and Garden owner, Jerry Cunningham said, “We have sold tens of thousands of Fire Burners and fuel during the last two years and have always considered them safe products.”

The product is clear and packaged in a clear one-quart plastic bottle and one-gallon plastic jug. It’s sold in non-scented and citronella scent.

Consumers are urged to return the pourable gel fuel to retailers for a full refund. It was sold by home decorators and landscape architects as well as at Bed Bath & Beyond, Shopko, Restoration Hardware, specialty gift shops, furniture stores, Amazon, and home and garden stores and catalogs.

In September 2011, even more products were recalled due to burn injuries and the risk of fire.

New product under fire

Gel burners are new products in the market. Napa said it relies on guidance from its fuel supplier to create safety directions for the product. A third-party expert will review the warning labels and instructions.

Napa says there are already extensive warnings on the fuel containers and in the care and use instructions. Previously, Cunningham said, “In spite of all the warnings, which are as good or better that any others in the industry, we need to see what else we can do to make sure our products are safe and people know how to use them safely.”

The CPSC says a retrofit for the Napa brand firepots is in the works and should be available soon.

Reporting unsafe products

If you have an incident with any product, report it to the CPSC on its new website, Saferproducts.gov. These reports are important to the recall process. For a previous post, I checked the site and found two incident reports for the firegel and ceramic pots.

A consumer in Washington said that the indoor/outdoor pot caused nearly $3,000 in damage, and included a picture of a burnt couch or futon type product. According to this report, when the consumer tried to snuff the firepot, “the flaming gel erupted volcano style throwing gel at least 5 feet across her living room…”

When I searched “fire pot”, I found another report from a consumer who bought a different brand firepot from a different retailer. However, they report the pot exploded.  The California consumer says the gel was burning a long time before it exploded. The consumer then wrote, “Consumer was spared, but the dog was struck and caught fire. Table caught fire and gel landing on concrete patio burned for up to 15 minutes. Dog ran and caught some grass and plants on fire in the yard.” The consumer said the expenses for the dog were approaching $12,000. The dog has third-degree burns over 35% of his body.

The reports in the CPSC database are unconfirmed. They are simply consumer accounts of what happened but are essential to the recall process for all products.