Ceramic firepots — decorative vases with a stainless steel area in the middle to hold flammable gel fuel — are dangerous products that have seriously injured many innocent people. Used primarily as an outdoor decoration to provide light, firepots use gel fuel which is lit with a match, then the flame is supposed to stay constantly visible and provide light.
However, an explosion can occur when the pot is refilled with additional gel fuel poured on top of the flaming fuel already in the middle of the pot. Sometimes the flame appears to be out but it is not. When this happens and more gel fuel is poured on it, an explosion can occur. When the pot explodes, the flaming jelly-like fuel splatters on people and objects nearby. Additionally, the gel is thick so it sticks on skin and clothing, making it more difficult to put out the fire on the victim and their clothes.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission has shown concern for firepots with gel fuel and believes the two products used together may present an unreasonable risk of injury. Many brands of gel fuel have been recalled including a half million containers of Pourable NAPAfire and FIREGEL Gel Fuel and 2,000,000 pourable gel fuels made or sold by nine companies since 2008.
Here are some victims of firepot explosions, as compiled by The New York Times last summer:
- William Anderson, 8 — April 3, 2010, Baltimore, Maryland — William was in his aunt’s backyard when a firepot tipped over, spilling flaming gel fuel on his left side and leg, according to a lawsuit. He spent 51 days in the hospital recovering from his burns.
- Lauren Levitt, 9 — March 31, Encino, California — Lauren was with a friend when the friend’s father started “performing tricks” with a firepot, according to a lawsuit which accuses the hosts of gross negligence. When the dad poured more gel fuel into the firepot, it erupted onto Lauren. She was in the hospital for two weeks with severe burns.
- Skyler Kelly, 13, Carlstadt, New Jersey, June 10, 2010 — Skyler was seriously burned on more than a third of her body when a firepot erupted as her mother refilled it. She spent more than five weeks in the hospital.
- Michael Hubbard, 14, Riverhead, New York, May 28 — When his cousin tried to light a firepot in preparation for a backyard wedding reception, the quart bottle of gel fuel he was pouring burst into flames. Michael was covered in flaming gel fuel.
- Nick Stone, 24, Manhattan, New York, June 3 — Nick suffered second- and third-degree burns over much of his body from a firepot accident. His friend began to refill a firepot that he thought had run out of fuel and burned out when the fire spread.
- Kimberly McCutcheon, her nine-year-old daughter, Holly and family member Jamie Perez, 30, Omaha, Nebraska, June 3 — As Robert McCutcheon tried to refill a firepot that he believed had burned out, it sent a fireball streaming out of the fuel bottle. It seriously injured his wife, their daughter and his sister-in-law.
- Sandi Grove, 42, Granger, Indiana, June 10 — Sandi was at his neighbor’s house watching their dogs play in the yard when his neighbor tried to refill a firepot. It erupted with a fireball into his lap.
- Becky Hart, 44 — May 28, Huntingtown, Maryland — Becky, of Ashburn,Virginia, was visiting high school friends at a cookout when someone tried to refill a firepot that appeared to have run out of fuel. The firepot exploded on her. She was on a respirator at Washington Hospital Center’s burn unit.
These horrible instances show how dangerous and widespread these firepot accidents are, and it is highly likely more families have been devastated by these dangerous products. Firepots can cause serious, life-threatening burns and injuries and even death. If you or your loved one has been hurt by an exploding firepot, contact the personal injury lawyers at Carr & Carr. Our experienced national lawyers can help your family no matter what state you live in or where the accident happened. You need someone to help protect your rights. And manufacturers of unsafe products need to know that we put the safety of our families as a top priority. Additionally, you may be entitled to compensation for medical bills, future medical bills, lost wages if you were off work due to your injury, and pain and suffering.
Email us or call 1-866-510-0580 to speak with a national lawyer who can help you determine what legal action you need to take. Our offices are in Tulsa and Oklahoma City, but we help families across the U.S.