Ill. fire marshal warns consumers about gel fire pots - KFVS12 News & Weather Cape Girardeau, Carbondale, Poplar Bluff

Ill. fire marshal warns consumers about gel fire pots

(KFVS) -

The office of the Illinois State Fire Marshal issued a consumer alert on Friday warning residents of potential fire and explosion hazards involving the recreational use of alcohol-fueled gel fire pots.

The OSFM says while the pot is designed as a household decoration or outdoor patio fixture, fire safety and prevention officials are concerned about increased dangers associated with its use.

"This is an alert to educate every resident of Illinois about the potential harm of that product," said Illinois State Fire Marshal Larry Matkaitis. "Those gel pots can be dangerous and should be used with extreme caution."

Fire departments and agencies in Illinois and throughout the U.S. have seen a spike in fires related to the use of gel fire pots including two reported incidents in Illinois - both in Quad cities - and nearly 40 nationwide with more than half those resulting in serious injuries and property damage.

In Iowa, OSFM says there were four reported fires including one in the past week that sent a man to the hospital with second and third degree burns.

Gel fire pots typically include a metal container within a decorative ceramic pot. The alcohol-based fuel, or gel, sits inside the metal container, which burns through a wick.

Some of the incidents have occurred as the consumer tries to refill the unit. Because the alcohol sometimes burns with a nearly invisible flame, the act of pouring more fuel can cause a flash over explosion that sends burning gel in all directions.

The high number of incidents has prompted the Consumer Product Safety Commission to investigate cases of fire and injuries caused by gel fire pots. CPSC has ordered recalls of some pots while some retailers have been voluntarily removing the product from store shelves.

OSFM advises consumers to carefully read instructions and warnings on gel packaging before its use and avoid refilling gel fire pots until the pot is empty or completely extinguished.

For more information about fire safety or other programs and services available  through the OSFM, you can visit the OSFM online.

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