Health Canada has prohibited the sale of ethanol-fuelled firepots. A flame jetting accident in Toronto had badly burned a one-year-old baby girl and her 20 years old aunt. In September, the baby’s grandfather was trying to refuel a tabletop in the family backyard.
But unfortunately, he was unaware that the device was still burning. As a result of this refueling, the baby and her aunt received second-degree burns. Additionally, this tragic incident has prompted Health Canada to issue a warning related to the use of ethanol-fuelled firepots.
Dangerous for human health and safety
This week, Health Canada has alerted manufacturers, retailers, and consumers about the prohibition of some types of ethanol-fuelled firepots. Such devices are dangerous for human health and safety.
Up till now, the government hasn’t specified the models and brands of ethanol-fuelled firetops that are dangerous. In recent years, the use of such devices has become popular in Canada. And in the marketplace, they are also referred to as tabletop fire pits, fire bowls, portable fireplaces, and patio burners.
Furthermore, multiple retail outlets sell them as decorative items – mostly seen on tables in restaurants or in backyards. Ethanol gives a clear flame when burnt. So, it can be difficult to see the flame if its fuel or the flame is low.
The baby’s grandfather has told that it shot two liters of liquid fire off to the left of them and placed his deck on fire. He also stated that his family is in trauma due to the accident. And isn’t ready to go public for sharing their experience.
Besides this, he also said that the baby’s aunt just got out of the hospital after a two-week stay that included skin-grafting surgery. While the baby is in much better condition and the family is hoping that sooner or later, she may not even have any noticeable scars.
Health Canada has received reports of 12 incidents related to flame-jetting. That has resulted in 26 burn injuries to the users and bystanders and two deaths.
Recommendations for safety
The grandfather of the injured baby was dying of remorse due to this tragic accident. He continued blaming himself until a nurse told him that recently she had seen several people who were burned in similar accidents involving ethanol-fuelled firepots.
At that time, he realized that the accident wasn’t due to his negligence. He said that he had this fireplace for three years and had been safety-oriented with it to make sure that nothing goes wrong. But what he had never experienced was an invisible flame.
The Ontario Fire Marshal states that it is possible to refuel such devices safely. But it needs special care that isn’t widely understood. The three important recommendations for refueling such devices safely are:
- Refueling away from people.
- Leaving the device off for a minimum of 30 minutes before refueling. Making sure that the device is cold to touch.
- Using a fuel canister with a flame arrestor. A small mesh insert that will prevent frame-jetting.
Currently, most containers available in the market have no flame arrestors. And the customers are recommended to ask retailers for a container with a flame arrestor to avoid safety concerns.