Pourable Gel Fuel Poses A Dangerous And Potentially Deadly Hazard

5:48 PM, Sep 1, 2011   |    comments
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BETHESDA, Md., (WUSA) -- The gel fuel burns but you can't see it. But a thermal camera can, and that is the danger.

"We're talking about burns to the face, chest, hands, arms and legs.  This is an extremely serious issue," says CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum.

Today the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a recall involving nine companies.  

Bird Brain Inc.
Bond Manufacturing
Sunjel Company
Fuel Barons Inc.
Lamplight Farms Inc.
Luminosities Inc
Pacific Decor
Real Farms
Smart Solar 

Their products were sold in plastic bottles and jugs for between $5 and $20.  

A tenth company, Marshall Group, the CPSC says, pulled out of the agreement at the last minute.

The danger comes when you add the pourable gel fuel to an already burning pot or one that is scalding hot.  It can ignite unexpectedly and erupt.

"It's just like adding gasoline to a fire, like boom," says one consumer.

The boom has happened 65 times, killing two people and burning 37 others.

CPSC Chairman Tenenbaum says, "The stop, drop and roll does not work with gel fuel fires.  These fires are difficult to extinguish in water, patting the fire off of someone can spread the gel and the fire."

Instructions on the many gels warn against adding them to burning pots, but they aren't always clear.  

The government wanted to take a proactive stance so that firefighters don't end up at your last big summer celebration.

The only way to put this kind of fire out is by using a special dry powder, something most people don't have.  

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission hopes that retailers will pull all their gel fuel off shelves, regardless of the maker.

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