Fuel Gel Makers Agree to Recall, Nix Exploding Lab Video

The government’s product safety watchdog is urging people to stop using decorative fuel gels that have caused dozens of injuries and two deaths. But the manufacturers agreed to recall the gels only after Consumer Product Safety Commission promised it would not show video of the products exploding in a testing lab.

“This is a voluntary recall,” CPSC Chairman Inez Tenenbaum said. “They asked us not to show the video that we made in our own laboratory. As part of the negotiations we agreed not to show the video.”

Tenenbaum announced nine companies have agreed to recall about 2 million jugs of the gel, which is poured into ceramic fire pots and ignited to create candlelight for decorative effect. The CPSC has recorded two deaths and 75 injuries, including 34 people hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns from flash fires and explosions caused by the gel.

“Consumers should immediately stop using these products,” Tenenbaum said.

Most of the burn incidents, Tenenbaum said, involved people pouring liquid into the pots while there was still a lit flame that was hard to see.  The burning gel then splashed up and caused the burns.

Once the burning gel is on clothing or skin it can be difficult to remove.  Attempting to smother the flames just spreads them and can set other people on fire.

Nine companies have agreed to recall their fuel gel products: Bird Brain Inc., Bond Manufacturing, Sunjel Company, Fuel Barons Inc., Lamplight Farms Inc., Luminosities Inc., Pacific Decor Ltd., Real Flame and Smart Solar USA. Tenenbaum said a tenth firm, Marshall Group, pulled out at the last minute and refuses to recall its PatioGlo fuel.

ABC News’ Elisabeth Leamy first reported on the dangers of these products back in June on Good Morning America.