Fireworks, Lighter Fluid Cause Injuries This Fourth of July

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With the Fourth of July right around the corner, families will be celebrating during the holiday weekend with swimming, fireworks and barbecues.

But the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission has put out warnings about fireworks and has recalled a certain type of lighter fluid.

Our product liability attorneys believe it is important to be extra vigilant when it comes to safety during this holiday weekend. Consumers will be using many products in celebrating time off from work or spending time with family and friends. Defective products can turn a joyous celebration into a tragedy.

The commission recently issued a recall of NAPAfire and FIREGEL lighter fluid products. Along with the commission’s recommendation, the company voluntarily recalled about 460,000 bottles and jugs of the product.

According to the commission, the pourable gel fuel can ignite unexpectedly and splatter onto people and objects nearby when it is poured into a firepot that is still burning. This hazard can occur if the consumer doesn’t see the flame or isn’t aware that the firepot is still ignited. Splattered fuel gel can pose fire and burn risks to consumers.

Consumers are warned to immediately stop using the pourable gel fuel and return the one-quart or one-gallon containers to the retailer where they were purchased. They are sold online as well at Bed Bath & Beyond, specialty and garden stores nationwide.

According to the National Fire Protection Association, there were about 7,700 annual fire department calls of home fires involving grills between 2004 and 2008. The fires caused $70 million in property damage.

And the association reports that flammable or combustible gas or liquid was the item first ignited in half of home outdoor grill fires. So, it is important to be especially careful when using a grill this summer.

And with barbecues and parties will come fireworks this holiday weekend. Fireworks are fun, but pose serious health risks that many people may not consider. According to the commission’s 2010 fireworks report, about 8,600 people were injured in 2010 from fireworks and three people were killed.

Most of those who were injured — about 6,300 — were hurt between June 18 and July 18 of 2010, the prime time for fireworks usage. Sparklers contributed to 1,200 injuries and rockets and small and large firecrackers were also to blame.

Children younger than 19 made up 52 percent of those who were injured and 65 percent of those injured were male. Burns were the most common type of injury, along with contusions and lacerations, fractures and sprains and other types of injuries. Hands and fingers, eyes, heads, legs and arms were the most common places on a person’s body injured from fireworks.

While all these statistics don’t mean you are likely to be injured, the danger is there and our firm hopes you will heed to these safety tips if using fireworks this summer:

  • Never allow young children to play with or ignite fireworks.
  • Avoid buying fireworks that are packaged in brown paper because this is often a sign that the fireworks were made for professional displays and that they could pose a danger to consumers.
  • Always have an adult supervise fireworks activities. Parents don’t realize that young children suffer injuries from sparklers. Sparklers burn at temperatures of about 2,000 degrees – hot enough to melt some metals.
  • Never place any part of your body directly over a fireworks device when lighting the fuse. Back up to a safe distance immediately after lighting fireworks.
  • Never try to re-light or pick up fireworks that have not ignited fully.
  • Never point or throw fireworks at another person.
  • Keep a bucket of water or a garden hose handy in case of fire or other mishap.
  • Light fireworks one at a time, then move back quickly.
  • Never carry fireworks in a pocket or shoot them off in metal or glass containers.
  • After fireworks complete their burning, douse the spent device with plenty of water from a bucket or hose before discarding it to prevent a trash fire.
  • Make sure fireworks are legal in your area before buying or using them.


The Ferraro Law Firm represents patients injured by fireworks products throughout the country. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami, Washington, D.C., and New York City.

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