Portable fireplaces, fire pots, fondue pots and pourable fuels safety: the risk of flame jetting

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About portable fireplaces, fire pots, and fondue pots

Portable products that use liquid or gel fuels are popular for indoor and outdoor use.

Common products include:

While the flames in these may seem less intense or more controlled than traditional wood burning fires, there are serious risks to using these products.

Flame-jetting risk

When you pour liquid or gel fuels into a portable fireplace, fire pot, or a fondue fuel reservoir that is still burning or hot:

This is called flame jetting.

How flame jetting happens

The flame or hot fireplace, fire pot, or fondue fuel reservoir ignites fuel vapours around the poured fuel stream. The flame then travels up the fuel stream and into the fuel container. This can result in a burst of flaming fuel jetting rapidly out of the container and travelling a distance dangerous to the user and bystanders.

Flame jetting occurs very quickly, so the user and/or bystanders are unable to react quickly enough to move away from an incoming flame jet. Flame jetting poses a serious fire and burn risk to anyone near the portable fireplace, fire pot, or fondue pot.

In Canada, flame jetting has resulted in deaths and several very serious injuries, to both the person refilling the product with fuel and to multiple bystanders.

Watch Dr. Jim McGorman’s story on how fire pots can be dangerous.

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Flame jetting observed after alcohol-based fuel is poured into a fire pot that is still burning. This photo has been reproduced from the Ontario Office of the Fire Marshal and Emergency Management (OFMEM) public safety video on flame jetting and fire pots, found on the OFMEM public safety message on flame jetting.

Safely using portable fireplaces, fire pots, and fondue pots with liquid or gel fuels

If using a liquid or gel fuel to refill a fireplace, fire pot, or fondue fuel reservoir:

Other safety tips for portable fireplaces, fire pots, fondue pots, and liquid or gel fuels:

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