FireGel sold at Bed Bath & Beyond has reportedly seriously burned several customers, according to the June 10, 2011 New York Times. The product is is a gel used to light ceramic firepots, scented with citronella to ward off insects on hot summer nights. The label has a neon green box prominently centered that states “lab tested safe.” Yet, when users squirted the gel onto a fire in a ceramic pot, the gel combusted causing disfiguring burns to the users’ faces and bodies.
Having attended the Pan European Organization of Personal Injury Lawyers (PEOPIL) in Krakow, Poland this weekend, where I presented and learned about legal issues for victims in other nations, it is an understatement to say that the news of this exploding FireGel is disconcerting. How did such a knowingly defective product hit store shelves in the U.S.?
With such a blatant defect, the victims and their families have a strong case against the manufacturer of the ceramic pot and packager of the fire gel, Napa Home & Garden, for defective design and inadequate (deceptive) warning. The fact the labels deceptively stated the product is safe, which can be reasonably interpreted to mean the product will not explode near a flame, provides sufficient legal basis. Research into the formula and poor quality control testing will only further strengthen the case.
The fuel is manufactured by Fuel Barons Inc. The FireGel has a “certification of safety” from Fuel Barons, who allegedly intended to communicate that its fuel is environmentally friendly, as it is made from recycled postconsumer waste and does not emit toxins when it burns. The corporate website has a British-accented women describe the miracle of this product, yet the company is headquartered in Lake Tahoe, Nevada.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has received at least 8 reported incidents of explosions involving fire gels and ceramic pots, though it is not clear if all incidents involved FireGel, or other fuel gel products, such as NapaFireLites, RealFlame and SUREFire.
Copyright 2011 The Filutowski Law Firm, PLLC. This page is intended for general information purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice or legal opinions on any specific facts or circumstances. Similar information was posted to Girl Power Hour, Seattle. An attorney-client relationship is not created or continued. If you are seeking a consultation on a legal matter, contact Alexandra Filutowski.