An entire family was injured last year when a ceramic firepot exploded sending incendiary fuel gel onto their bodies. One family member was left with third degree burns over much of his face and body.
The Huntsville, Alabama family has now brought a class action lawsuit against the manufacturers of the firepots and fuel gels. Several other victims have also joined the class action, reports WAAY TV.
Given that there have been 86 reported injuries and two deaths since these products were introduced in 2008, this class action could be the first of many.
Fuel gels and firepots have become increasingly popular as they provide an aesthetically pleasing alternative to a traditional fireplace. You get all the benefits of fire, without having the need for wood, matches, and ashes to clean up.
However, fuel gels also provide a hidden danger when it comes to relighting an apparently spent firepot. Fuel gels are extremely flammable and if poured onto an already lit pot, the firepot and gel could explode, reports WAAY. The problem is compounded as it is very difficult to tell when a firepot is no longer lit. This is what happened to the family in Alabama. The entire family sat around the firepot and agreed that the firepot was out. As a woman poured fresh fuel gel into the pot, the pot exploded.
In the class action lawsuit, the manufacturers may be liable if they failed to properly warn consumers of the dangers of the products. This can include warnings that the gel is still lit, even if not visibly so. Manufacturers could also be liable if the product was defectively designed or manufactured in any way. If you have been injured by a fire pot or fuel gel, you may want to talk to a product liability lawyer to learn your rights.
- Madison family files lawsuit over May 2011 fire gel explosion that burned 20-year-old (The Huntsville Times)
- What is Product Liability? (FindLaw)
- Exploding iPods and iPhones Prompt Investigations (FindLaw's Injured)