Madigan

RACINE, Wis. (Legal Newsline) - With Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan calling for a federal ban on fuel gel products, one company is emphasizing that it has never been responsible for a burn incident.

Real Flame, of Racine, says it understands Madigan's reaction to recent reports of severe burn incidents, but wants consumers to know that there are different formulations of pour gel fuel in the marketplace that have different burning characteristics.

"(I)t is important to note that some fuel gel products with a long history of product testing and consumer safety are on the market today, none of which have been the cause of these accidents and should not be included in a ban," John Ridgeway, vice president of sales and marketing for Real Flame, said Thursday.

Madigan wants the Consumer Product Safety Commission to recall all fuel gel products and impose a ban on them. She's also calling on consumers to cease using the items.

Fuel gel is poured into a fire pot or a similar vessel for use as outdoor light or a decorative flame. Madigan said reports have shown injuries resulted when fuel gel was spilled or was poured into a pot in an attempt to light or re-light the flame.

This caused the product to explode into a fireball, reacting to a person's skin like napalm, making it nearly impossible to extinguish in traditional ways like dropping and rolling, Madigan said. The flaming gel ignites other materials and does not stop burning.

"Recalling these items one by one won't cut it," Madigan said. "In the midst of the summer season, many of these fuel gel products are already in people's homes and backyards. We need to work quickly to alert consumers about the extreme dangers they pose."

Real Flame says it has been cooperating with the CPSC over the last six weeks, and its products have not been responsible for a single burn injury in the company's 27-year history.

"We are confident the CPSC is doing a thorough job investigating injuries related to fuel gel products and is working actively to keep consumers safe," said Ridgeway. "We believe state and local governments should wait and follow the CPSC's recommendation, based upon its study and investigation, which began in mid-June."

From Legal Newsline: Reach John O'Brien by e-mail at jobrienwv@gmail.com.

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