Gel-fuel pots recalled after explosion

Michael Hubbard, 14, of Riverhead remains in critical

Michael Hubbard, 14, of Riverhead remains in critical condition at Stony Brook Hospital's Pediatric ICU after FireGel citronella fuel exploded at a family gathering May 28. (Credit: Handout)

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced Wednesday a recall of gel-fuel bottles and jugs made by a Georgia company after reports of serious injuries -- including one involving a 14-year-old boy in Riverhead -- a spokesman for the agency said.

Napa Home & Garden Inc., of Duluth, Ga., voluntarily halted sales of the decorative ceramic pots about three weeks after the Riverhead teenager was burned when a Napa firepot exploded as it was lit by his cousin. On Wednesday, Napa voluntarily recalled the products, said Alex Filip, a spokesman for the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Consumers should immediately stop using the Pourable NAPAfire and FIREGEL Gel Fuel and return all bottles or jugs to the retailer where they purchased the fuel for a full refund, Filip said.

Napa announced the recall on its website. It is aware of 37 injury reports, including 23 burn injuries to consumers, Filip said. He said while the recall involves only one manufacturer of the fuel gel, "there are other brands out there and we want people to be aware of the hazard."

Michael Hubbard, 14, of Riverhead, was injured May 28 after FIREGEL citronella fuel exploded at a family gathering. He remains in an induced coma, with third-degree burns across his body, in the pediatric intensive care unit at Stony Brook University Medical Center.

"I'm grateful that this is taken off the market," said Curtis Johnson, Hubbard's uncle, who hosted the gathering at which the teen was injured. "It's very dangerous. I'm happy that it happened this fast. It's good news for the family."

Johnson said Hubbard, who is on a ventilator, has received skin grafts on most of his body.

Rep. Tim Bishop (D-Southampton) said, "I'm delighted that the Consumer Product Safety Commission responded as they did and as quickly as they did," he said. "It's very good news for consumers all over the country."

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