Unfortunately, consumers may not be aware that a product is dangerous until an accident happens. An incident can raise concern over whether the product is in fact dangerous or whether it was a one-time occurrence. If there are multiple reports of accidents or injuries, the product is often recalled and pulled off the market.
A Florida couple did not realize that the pourable gel-like fuel they were using to light a fire pot would explode. The wife had lit a match but when the flame was about to light a second pot, she was suddenly engulfed in flames. Her husband quickly tried to put out the fire; she was brought to a local medical center and treated for burns.
This was not the only incident involving the gel fuel. A Florida man was killed when he tried to use it. And a little boy was critically injured after the fuel ignited unexpectedly. Now, the Florida woman - who also has two children - is recovering from severe third-degree burns and will need further medical treatment to repair the damage she sustained in the fuel explosion.
The Florida couple has filed a lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product as well as the store where the fuel was purchased. According to their attorney, consumers don't realize that the fuel is dangerous. Vapors from the fuel gather on the ground but are not seen by the naked eye. When someone gets ready to light the pot, the fumes catch fire and appear almost as if a fireball exploded.
The product has already been pulled off the market by the Consumer Product Safety Commission in an attempt to reduce the number of fuel-related accidents. But more importantly, the couple's daughter is working to get a bill passed in Florida that would ban the product so that future incidents can be avoided.
Source: The Palm Beach Post News: "Palm Beach Shores woman engulfed in flames; lawsuit blames gel-life fuel," Jane Musgrave, Aug. 3, 2011.