Home Depot pulls gel fuel pots after nine more recalls

VERA CHINESE | Until Thursday, firepots could be found on the shelves of the Home Depot store in Riverhead this week.

Though 65 accidents involving firepots and fuel gels have been reported to the federal government —including one serious accident in Riverhead — the product could still be found on local store shelves earlier this week, including at the Route 58 Home Depot.

But the store pulled the product Thursday as nine more manufacturers of liquid candle fuel, similar to the product that severely burned 15-year-old Michael Hubbard of Riverhead in May, issued voluntary recalls, federal officials said.

“Due to the serious risks of flash fire and burns when consumers add pourable gel to an already burning fire pot, consumers should immediately stop using the pourable gel fuel,” the Consumer Product Safety Commission officials stated in a press release.

Michael has been at Stony Brook University Medical Center since pouring the fuel into an already lit candle during a family party over Memorial Day weekend.

Firepots used for liquid gel fuel manufactured by the Michigan–based company Bird Brain, were found on the shelves of the Riverhead Home Depot store as late as Wednesday afternoon.

The pots were retailing for $19.98, though the store did not have the accompanying fuel gel in stock.

“We issued a stop sale to all of our stores this morning,” a Home Depot spokesperson, Stephen Holmes, told the News-Review Thursday.

Safety Commission officials have said they are aware of 65 incidents resulting in two deaths and 34 victims who were hospitalized with second- and third-degree burns of the face, chest, hands, arms or legs caused by similar products. Of those 65 incidents, 28 of them involved products manufactured by Napa Home Garden, which makes the product that caused Michael’s accident.

Napa issued a voluntary recall in June.

Home Depot does not carry products manufactured by Napa Home and Garden, Mr. Holmes said.

A bill sponsored by county Legislator Ed Romaine (R-Center Moriches) banning the sale of all ethyl alcohol-based fuel gels in Suffolk was unanimously approved by the legislature last month. That bill is awaiting the signature of County Executive Steve Levy, an aide to Mr. Romaine said.

A spokesman for Mr. Levy could not be immediately reached for comment.

It will go into effect 90 days after it is filed with the state.

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