Ethanol-fueled devices are dangerous: Brown

By Staff

Ontario personal injury lawyer Patrick Brown tells CTV News that people should be warned about using “dangerous” table-top ethanol-fueled fireplaces after his client was hit by a jet of fire from one of these devices and is now fighting for her life.

Brown, a principal partner with McLeish Orlando LLP, represents the family of Cindy Iannucci, who has been in a medically induced coma since August.

“The woman was visiting with friends at a wine and cheese party in a Toronto backyard when she was struck by a fireball from an ethanol-fueled device,” CTV reports.

The woman’s sister tells the news outlet that Iannucci has undergone emergency surgeries, multiple skin grafts and has been sedated for the past three weeks.

“She is not recognizable. The entire upper half of her body is severely burned, and we are just taking it day by day,” her sister says.

“This is inherently a dangerous product. You don’t have social gatherings in backyards across Ontario and have a product that reacts like a flame thrower or an explosion to people like Cindy, who is fighting for her life,” Brown tells CTV.

The Ontario Fire Marshal recently issued a warning about the products due to multiple fatalities and injuries in Ontario over the past three years from “flame-jetting” — when a large burst of fire shoots out like a blow torch.

“This occurs when the flame is not fully extinguished but is not obviously visible, and fuel vapours suddenly ignite during refuelling,” the news outlet reports.

CTV also points to the story of Judith Buys, a Peterborough dentist who died in 2016 from a similar ethanol fire, and whose family filed a $12 million negligence lawsuit against the manufacturer of the product that killed her.

At the time that the 2018 statement of claim was filed, Ontario personal injury lawyer John McLeish told that, "It is the hope of the family of Dr. Judith Buys that this lawsuit will draw attention to the serious and recognized hazard of ethanol-fuelled lamps.”

McLeish, a founding partner with McLeish Orlando LLP, told the legal wire service that this lawsuit “is a chance to prevent other tragedies.”

CTV reports both families are calling for a ban on the devices until there can be further investigation into the accidents, and that Iannucci’s family is also considering legal action.

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