Ethanol burner explosion injures four people in Rockingham

Ethanol burner explosion injures four people in Rockingham

FOUR people were injured, including a child, after a decorative alcohol-fuelled burner exploded in a Rockingham backyard on the weekend.

The explosion has prompted Consumer Protection to issue a warning that certain table-top models have been banned.

The explosion on Saturday is believed to have been sparked by an ethanol burner being re-fuelled while still lit.

There was a large fire in the backyard. St Johns Ambulance and the Department of Fire and Emerency Services attended.

The injured people were taken to hospital.

The device was purchased about ten years ago prior to the ban being in place.

A national safety standard for these burners came into effect in July 2017 after a Safety Bay woman suffered serious burns to her face and upper body.

Since 2010 the burners have caused more than 100 injuries and 36 house fires in Australia and at least three deaths overseas.

The standard prevents the supply of table top devices (devices which weigh less than 8kg or have a footprint less than 900sqcm) and requires freestanding and fixed devices to meet a stability test, come with a fuel container with a flame arrester (or an automatic fuel pump system) and display warnings on the device about refuelling hazards. Products intended for cooking or heating are exempt.

Commissioner for Consumer Protection Lanie Chopping said some table top models have been banned since December 2016 following concerns about the danger of the burners exploding.

“We are concerned that there are many of these dangerous products purchased prior to the ban that are still being used in the community and we appeal to consumers to discontinue their use and either dispose of them or take them back to the retailer for a refund,” she said.

“The new safety standard aims to address the cause of many incidents which is the refuelling of the unit from the same opening as the burner.

“The burner’s flame is often hard to see and injuries commonly occur when consumers refuel the device when it is still lit or warm, as has happened in this recent incident.

“There is also a risk of the burner being easily knocked over, especially by children or pets, potentially causing serious burns and damage to property.

“Retailers and suppliers are reminded that there is a mandatory reporting requirement so they need to pass on reports of incidents or injuries to the ACCC.”

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