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CPSC, firms recall fuel gel due to fire, burn risk

By Karin Caifa, CNN
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Flash fires and burns have been reported when consumers add the gel to an already burning pot
  • "The standard way of putting out flame doesn't work," CPSC official says
  • The agency has received reports of at least 65 incidents, including two deaths

Bethesda, Maryland (CNN) -- The Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Thursday a recall of pourable gel fuels used in outdoor decorative lighting because of burn and flash fire hazards.

The voluntary recall, ahead of the Labor Day weekend, covers about 2 million bottles and jugs of gel fuel, and it follows a similar recall and warning in June.

Incidents of flash fires and burns have been reported when consumers add the gel to an already burning fire pot. The CPSC says the agency has received reports of at least 65 incidents, including two deaths, 75 injuries, and 34 victims hospitalized with second and third degree burns.

Because of the alcohol base of the product, the CPSC says the fires spread easily, sometimes resulting in injuries to more than one person, and they are difficult to put out.

"The standard way of putting out flame doesn't work. Water very rarely works. Patting it or smothering the flame does not work. So you have to use a dry chemical extinguisher to get the flame out," CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum told CNN.

The nine manufacturers and distributors involved in the voluntary recall include Bird Brain, Bond Manufacturing, Sunjel, Fuel Barons, Lamplight Farms, Luminosities, Pacific Decor, Real Flame, and Smart Solar USA. CPSC said a tenth manufacturer, Marshall Group, backed out of a recall agreement at the last-minute.

Tenenbaum also said the nine companies agreed to recall the items only if the CPSC would not show a video made in their laboratory of the products exploding.

The recalled gel fuel has been sold by retailers since 2008. The CPSC and Napa Home & Garden recalled 460,000 bottles and jugs of gel fuel in June, and the CPSC recommends the removal of all remaining gel fuel stock from store shelves. For information on how to obtain a refund, consumers can visit cpsc.gov.