Firepot Explosion Leads To Fuel Gel Ban In Suffolk County

Mother Of 14-Year-Old Critically Injured In Explosion Spurs Legislators To Act

RIVERHEAD, N.Y. (CBSNewYork) — Suffolk County legislators have voted to ban the sale of an ethanol- or alcohol-based fuel gel after a teenager was badly burned two months ago.

Michael Hubbard has third-degree burns after a flash explosion splattered him with fuel gel from a ceramic pot. CBS 2’s Ann Mercogliano reports on his mother’s fight to save other children from a similar fate.

“Lit the candle, didn’t think nothing of it. It didn’t look like it was lit, pour more fuel in it and boom, my son goes on,” Nancy Reyer said.

A day doesn’t go by that Reyer doesn’t relive her real-life nightmare.

On May 28, while getting ready for a wedding reception in a cousin’s yard, her 14-year-old son was critically burned when fuel gel, poured into a wickless ceramic firepot by someone other than Michael, exploded.

Michael’s mother said it was during re-fueling when the explosion happened and it caught her son off-guard.

On Tuesday, Mercogliano visited Michael at Stony Brook Hospital and saw that his eyes were open, but, according to his mother, he hasn’t been able to speak since the explosion. He is being treated for burns and brain injuries.

While taking caring of her injured son, Reyer has also been working with Suffolk County legislators in trying to change the law in an effort to prevent this from happening again.

And on Tuesday in Riverhead, there was no argument from legislators. A bill named for Michael Hubbard — “Michael’s Law” — passed unanimously. The bill will ban the sale of ethanol- or alcohol-based FireGel in Suffolk County – the type of fuel gel behind Michael’s injuries.

“Our hearts go out to Nancy, to the family. We just hope it doesn’t happen again,” Suffolk Legislator Ed Romaine said.

After the vote Reyer headed back to the hospital to be with her son. Ironically, on the day a bill in honor of Michael was passed, he also turned 15.

“I will tell him when we go there today to celebrate his birthday, but I won’t get a response,” Reyer said.

She may not get a response, but she said she knows Michael will be listening.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said it’s investigating the type of firepot involved in Michael Hubbard’s case. The company that makes the firepot told its retailers to temporarily pull it off shelves while urging consumers to read warning labels.

A call to the company on Tuesday was not returned.

Please offer your thoughts in the comments section below.

Comments

One Comment

  1. PLEASEENDTHEWORLD says:

    Hope they don’t ban me from puking in my own home….BARF!

    1. lydiass says:

      Okay, let me see if i got this right . . . one fourteen year old, probably never having even looked at the directions and warning label, got himself severely burned.
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  2. MY OPINION says:

    ABSOULETELY STUPIDITY ON THEIR PART….

    I CAN UNDERSTAND A MANUFACTURE BEING HELD FULLY RESPONSIBLE FOR ANYTHING MADE DEFECTIVELY AND THAT ITEM OR PRODUCT CAUSING DAMAGES ETC. BUT NOT THIS. SHE JUST FAILED TO BE CAUTIOUS, AND READ INSTRUCTIONS. SHOULD NOT HAD A STREET NAMED AFTER THEM, HE DIDN’T DIED. AND EVEN IF HE DID IT WAS NOT CALLED FOR. NOR SHOULD THE PRODUCT BAN. BUT PERHAPS MFR MADE TO PUT A MUCH BETTER WARNING LABEL ON IT. BUT THEN AGAIN I MAY BE WRONG CAUSE I DON’T KNOW THE PRODUCT, THE FAMILY, NOR THE FULL STORY. MY OPINION…

  3. goblin says:

    More nanny state laws. Who the hell pour flammable liquid onto an open flame?

  4. reader says:

    did you guys even read the article? the kid wasn’t the one lighting the stuff or using it. He was just standing there. There have been numerous other incidents like this when refilling these gel fuel containers. Do a little research. The stuff is so lethal because in every case the person thought the fuel had burnt out and needed to be refuled and it exploded when they added more.

    1. David S. says:

      OK so ask yourself this? If you are so “Informed” … if the stuff is as explosive and dangerous as you say, why was Michael the only one burned? What happened to the mysterious person that was holding the bottle and pouring it when it “Exploded” as Mrs. Reyer says? A little strange I think!
      Use your head not your heart, this was an accident and everyone feels for the child but really, common sense goes a long way!!

  5. David S. says:

    Fact Check: 1. FIRE IS DANGEROUS!! 2. Children Should NOT Play With Mathes!! 3. Gel Fuel like any other fuel BURNS!!!
    So one distraught mother who can’t accept personal responsibility for an ACCIDENT. YEP, an ACCIDENT, makes it her cause to BAN a product that the rest of us may use without a problem.
    A child near me recently grabbed a kitchen knife by the blade. His brother came and pulled it away from him. He know has severed nerves and tendons in his hand and still does not have use of his hand properly. SHOULD WE BAN KITCHEN KNIVES Mrs. Reyer??
    Fireplaces are in our houses and cause chimney fires, I guess those should be banned. Barbeques have large bottles of EXPLOSIVE gas on them … should these be banned Mrs. Reyer?
    Cars go in excess of 65MPH and kill hundreds of people every year … should these be banned Mrs. Reyer?
    Children Drown in backyard pools…should we ban these Mrs. Reyer?
    Of Course not!!! Accidents happen when people do not use the product they purchased in the manner in which it was intended.
    Personal Responsibility dictates that you accept the results of not adhereing to the proper use of a product.
    God Bless this Boy and I wish him a full recovery, but this was an ACCIDENT and shame on the Suffolk Leglislators that can’t see that.
    I’m sorry, but don’t we have bigger issues to deal with? How much money will the family now sue the maker of this Fire Pot for? Because lord knows there are not nearly enough WARNINGS and INSTRUCTIONS on these things when you buy them!!!
    I am reminded of whn I was a child myself, my father was sweating two pieces of copper pipe together. After he took the torch away and turned his back, I reached out and tried to pick off a shiny bubble of Solder. GUESS WHAT? I GOT BURNED, BADLY!!! You know what my father said?? “Guess you’ll never do that again!!” and he was right, I have soldered many a pipe and never once since then have I ever touched it again. My father didn’t sue the Torch maker because it gt the pipe hot or the Sloder Maker because it retained Heat. And he certainly did not go out of his way to BAN Torches and Solder because his son was ignorant and did something he shouldn’t!!
    A recent look at the instructions for a new table saw had this warnig from Craftsman “Never Grab The Spinning Blade With Your Hands” Now why do you think that had to be put in the instructions?? Because someone SUED them for not warning us NOT TO!!
    PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY MRs. Reyer, No law can ever replace that!!!

    1. KPMc says:

      You need to seek professional help.

      1. David S says:

        You are the one that posted an incoherent and illogical reply to a well thought out and common sense comment and I am the one that needs professional help? How about rebutting the point of my post? Or is a thoughtful debate beyond your intelligence level?

  6. Michael’sMotherIs A DizzyCow says:

    She was right to say that “She didnt think”…what a scatter brain to let a 14 yr old to mess that stuff. didnt she read the instructions .F-ing retart

  7. CW says:

    They forgot to say
    The Hubbards have some political clout…
    A street- Hubbards Lane in Riverhead Town is named after the family

  8. gjk says:

    Okay, let me see if i got this right . . . one fourteen year old, probably never having even looked at the directions and warning label, got himself severely burned. One mother of this child, got a bunch of legislators to vote using such applications should be illegal in Suffolk county.

    Gee, i hope she doesn’t hear about gasoline . . . no of us will be allowed to drive.

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