A federal judge in New York has held that a man who was seriously injured by pourable gel fuel that burst into flames is allowed to sue the store that sold the product. The case offers another avenue for those injured in gel fuel explosions to collect damages from those responsible for their horrible injuries.
This recent case began in 2011, when Theresa Lynch purchased a container of Napa Home & Garden Fire Gel Pourable Gel Fuel from the Gander Mountain outdoors store in New York. Only a few weeks later, Theresa’s sister-in-law poured the fuel gel as directed into a firepot of the same brand which had been purchased at the same store and given to the family as a gift.
It was at this point that the gel fuel, which is prominently labeled “planet safe and people safe,” suddenly burst into flames. The explosion then led to the gel fuel spraying two or three feet out of the bottle, ultimately landing in the lap of Theresa’s husband, Peter. Peter suffered severe burns across large areas of his body thanks to the supposedly “people safe” gel fuel.
Only a month after the terrible accident, Napa Home & Garden (a Georgia based company), announced that the Consumer Product Safety Commission forced them to recall all Napa pourable gel fuels. The Lynches later filed suit against Gander Mountain, a company with more than $1 billion in annual sales, claiming that the store was negligent in selling the product. The Lynches further claimed that Gander Mountain breached its warranty of merchantability and warranty of fitness by selling the defective product. Each of the claims was allowed to proceed against Gander Mountain according to a recent federal judge’s ruling.
Napa Home and Garden, which sells gel fuels, has voluntarily recalled 460,000 of its gel fuel-filled bottles and plastic jugs because of reports of 37 incidents and 23 burns, according to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Georgia company also issued a warning on its website advising consumers to wait until flames and pots are completely cool before adding more gel. Napa sells its gel fuel products at Bed, Bath and Beyond, Amazon.com, Restoration Hardware, and many other home and garden stores.
Given that it is currently the height of summer and people often want to enjoy the outdoors, it’s common for consumers to purchase gel fuel products. However, many people may not realize just how dangerous these gel fuels can be. Gel fuel is incredibly sticky and burns incredibly hot, behaving much like napalm. The products can stick to clothing and skin, and cannot be extinguished by the usual “stop, drop and roll.”
Instead, putting out a fire caused by gel fuel requires a chemical fire extinguisher, a large amount of baking soda, or close access to a pool or other large body of water, according to safety experts. Even more frightening is that some safety experts say that simply running to a pool or lake could actually make the fire even worse.
Pope McGlamry P.C. is vigorously representing burn victims who have been burned as a result of fuel gel fires. If you or a loved one has been injured by exploding fuel gel, contact our Georgia personal injury law firm for a free evaluation of your claim.
Source: “Judge Fans the Flames in Suit Over Fire Gel Defect,” by Rose Bouboushian, published at CourthouseNews.com.
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