DEMAREST, N.J. (CBSNewYork) — A backyard gathering went horribly wrong in Bergen County.
Police say a little girl accidentally fell into a fire pit and suffered severe burns.
The incident highlights the recent uptick in fire pit injuries over the past five years.
Now, many say there’s a need for more regulations, CBS2’s Lisa Rozner reported Monday.
There was horror on Holland Avenue in Demarest late Saturday afternoon. Police said a 5-year-old girl accidentally tripped and fell into a fire pit.
“[It is] very upsetting, very upsetting,” Demarest Fire Department Assistant Chief John McLoughlin said. “This was just a family having a picnic.”
McLoughlin said the girl and her family were in their backyard when she suffered second- and third-degree burns to her face and arms. She was taken to the Burn Center at Saint Barnabas in Livingston. Dr. Michael Marano is the medical director.
“We have definitely seen an uptick in the number of injuries from these fire pits for both adults and children in the past five years,” Marano said.
The Consumer Product Safety Commission says the number of burn injuries in the U.S. has tripled in the last decade, in part, because of the growing popularity of fire pits.
“There’s much more available from manufacturers, fire pits you can buy in your corner hardware store, for example,” Marano said.
In New Jersey, there really is no regulation of fire pits because fire marshals can’t control what goes on in a single-family home.
The law seems to have a gray area in it. While there is regulation on open flames, there seems to be a loophole in fire pits on private property. Experts say, either way, you’re playing with fire, so if you have small kids, set rules for behavior around the pit, or don’t have one.
“They need to be 10 feet from the home. You can only burn cured wood in it. You’re not supposed to put Duraflames. You’re not supposed to put construction debris or anything like that,” McLoughlin said. “If you put a steel covering over it, it might prevent you from falling in, but it’s not going to prevent you from getting burned.”
The most important precaution is being aware.
Demarest is in the process of reaching out to the state to discuss imposing more regulations on fire pits.