Consumer safety advocates open file on table-top ethanol burners

Flames

Is a difficult year at the burn centre at Sunnybrook Hospital enough to move the needle on so-called 'fire pot' burners?

Doctors who work there say over the past year they're treating more frequently patients who have been burned by fires fueled by ethanol.

One of the most common culprits are outdoor table-top stoves.

We've been telling you about CTV Toronto's reporting into the potential hazards of refuelling these burners.

Numerous reports have surfaced of people have been seriously hurt or killed by large blasts of fire because they didn't realize the flame inside the stove had not been completely extinguished.

When more ethanol fuel is poured into the device, the fire can ignite like a blow-torch, resulting in devastating injuries.

Two people in Ontario have been killed in similar incidents this year alone.

Last month, the Ontario Fire Marshall issued a public warning over the fire pot burners, warning users to only refuel them using a container equipped with a flame arrestor.

Safety advocates with the Consumers' Association of Canada have opened a file on table-top fire pots.

Director Bruce Cran says while the group hasn't received any reports about fire pot burners, it will investigate the matter further.

"We're taking a very serious look at it," he says.

"We'll see if these things are properly labelled and if they're considered to be dangerous they ought to be outlawed in Canada."

Cran says he doesn't know enough yet to call for the burners to be banned, but he notes the potential dangers of ethanol-fuelled stoves are well documented.

His group raised red flags decades ago over the burners, insisting that ethanol fuel was too volatile and too difficult to see when burning to be safe for widespread use.

It was after more than a hundred reported injuries that Australia banned some table-top stoves.

Health Canada says it is working with authorities in the US to develop safety standards to prevent refuelling mishaps but its unclear when they might become law.