Firepot fuel flames severely injures three people

The Del Mar Fire Department is warning people to take safety precautions after three people suffered severe burns July 4 in Del Mar when fuel from a firepot burst into flames.

The incident occurred at a home in Del Mar about 7:30 p.m. on July 4, according to Del Mar Fire Marshal Robert Scott.

A firepot was being refueled when flames shot out of the pot and sprayed fuel on three people sitting less than 10 feet away from the pot on a couch, Scott said.

One of the victims suffered third-degree burns over 50 percent of their body and had to be transported via helicopter to a hospital. The other two victims each suffered second and third degree burns over 20-30 percent of their body and were taken to the hospital via ambulance.

Scott said the Del Mar Fire Department is hoping to hold a meeting with other local fire marshals and the Burn Institute to start an education campaign to raise awareness about the dangers of firepots or any type of appliance that uses fuel.

“This was a very unfortunate accident but it has become a nationwide problem,” Scott said, noting that in the last year or two there have been about 70 to 80 significant injury incidents in the country and two fatalities related to appliance fuel.

“Use extreme caution any time you have an appliance that uses any kind of fuel, it is very dangerous — treat it like gasoline,” Scott said. “Also, never refuel appliances when they are still hot, wait for them to cool down — and only refuel in the daylight.”         

— Staff report

   
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