Lawsuits filed over firepots: West Ashley woman suffered severe burns, published 06/22/11Firepots blamed in burns, victims say citronella gel burned them like napalm, published 06/14/11
The federal Consumer Product Safety Commission on Wednesday announced a voluntary recall of the fuel used in decorative firepots made by a Georgia company that is being sued by people who allege they were badly burned while using the product.
Rachael and Ken Smilowitz of West Ashley told The Post and Courier that a Napa firepot exploded into a fireball when her husband tried to light the jelly-like fuel on the porch of their home. Smilowitz, a 33-year-old mother of two, said the flames engulfed her legs and left her with second- and third-degree burns. Her husband was burned trying to put out the flames, according to their lawsuit.
A Florida couple has filed a similar lawsuit. Both suits allege negligence and target the firepots’ maker, Georgia-based Napa Home and Garden Inc., as well as companies that supplied the fuel and packaging, according to attorneys from Motley Rice, which represents both couples. The stores where the firepots were sold are also named in the suits.
The product being recalled is the pourable NAPAfire and FIREGEL Gel Fuel bottles and jugs, the commission said in a news release.
The product has been sold at Bed Bath & Beyond, Shopko, Restoration Hardware, specialty and gift shops, furniture stores, and home and garden stores nationwide, as well as through Amazon.com, home and garden catalogs, and home decorators and landscape architects. The product was sold between December 2009 and June 2011 for between $5 and $78.
The product is a clear, pourable gel fuel packaged in clear one-quart plastic bottles and one-gallon plastic jugs and sold in non-scented and citronella scents. The fuel is poured into a stainless steel cup in the center of firepots or other decorative lighting devices and ignited.
Consumers should immediately stop using the pourable gel fuel in firepots and return all bottles or jugs to the retailer where the consumer purchased the fuel for a full refund. A retrofit for the Napa brand firepots is being evaluated and may be available in the near future.
About 460,000 bottles and jugs were affected by the recall.
The manufacturer, Napa Home and Garden Inc., is aware of 37 reports of incidents, including 23 burn injuries to consumers, the release said.
For additional information, call Napa Home and Garden at (888) 893-2323 between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. EDT Monday through Friday, visit Napa’s website at http://www.napahomeandgarden.com/ or write to Napa, 3270 Summit Ridge Parkway, Suite 240, Duluth, GA 30096-1617
Glenn Smith contributed to this report. Reach David W. MacDougall at 937-5655.
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