WASHINGTON - Nine companies are recalling about 2 million bottles and jugs of the gel fuel used in outdoor patio decorations known as firepots because of the risk of serious burns.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the gel fuel has been linked to several dozen cases in which people were burned when they couldn't tell whether the flame was out. Pouring more gel on a burning pot can lead to dangerous flares or burns.
The companies are: Bird Brain Inc. of Ypsilanti, 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 Decor Ltd. of Woodinville, Wash.; Real Flame of Racine, Wis.; Smart Solar USA of Oldsmar, Fla.
The commission says Marshall Group of Elkhart, Ind., pulled out of the public announcement at the last minute. The agency was continuing talks with the company about a voluntary recall.
The commission's head, Inez Tenenbaum, said Thursday the agency wants to make consumers aware of the recall with the approaching Labor Day weekend. She urged people to stop using the pourable gel fuel and to contact the manufacturer or distributor for a refund.
"It's a dangerous product that we want to warn consumers to stop using," she said. "Stop, drop and roll or trying to smother it (the flames) does not work."
Flash fires created by the thick, alcohol-based gels are difficult to put out with water and more effectively stopped with dry powder extinguishers, she said.
The commission began investigating firepots a few months ago and issued a flash fire hazard warning on pourable gel fuels in June.
Last year, Local 4 did a story with a Farmington woman who said she was severely burned by one of the firepots. You can watch the original report here:
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