DCA Division of Fire Safety Issues Warning Regarding "Fuel Gel" Danger


TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey Department of Community Affairs (DCA) Commissioner Lori Grifa today issued a warning regarding potential serious burn hazards posed by the use of "fuel gel" products and the devices in which they are designed to be used.

"There have been several incidents involving the use of fuel gel products that have resulted in serious and, in a few cases, life threatening burn injuries." said Commissioner Grifa. "It is imperative that people who use these types of products read, understand and follow the manufacturers' directions to avoid serious injuries."

Fuel gel products are made by several manufacturers and are sold mainly in hardware stores and chain stores that sell summer seasonal items. They are burned in "fire pots" designed to be used outdoors for decoration. In some cases, citronella is added as insect repellants. 

The gel is a flammable, alcohol-based composition that has thickening agents added to make it more viscous, giving it a consistency similar to gel hand sanitizer. It is readily ignitable and, due to its gel consistency, it easily sticks to clothes and skin. This can potentially cause serious burns.  It has been described as similar to Napalm with regard to its ability to stick to surfaces while burning.

Acting Division of Fire Safety Director William Kramer recommends the following safety tips for the use of these types of products:


·         Exercise extreme caution when using fuel gel products and the devices that are designed for their use;

·         Do not use fuel gel products in any device that isn't specifically designed for its use;

·         Do not overfill the unit with fuel;

·         Do not add fuel to any lit flame or fire. In well‐lit areas, the flames produced by burning fuel gel may be hard to see so ensure the fire is out before adding fuel;

·         Use a snuffer to extinguish the flame and do not attempt to blow out the fire as the fuel may splatter and spread fire;

·         In case of an emergency, do not attempt to extinguish the fire with water. If clothes or skin is on fire, stop, drop and roll until the fire is out;

·         Do not allow children to handle the fuel or add or ignite the fuel at any time;

·         Keep devices away from all combustibles or anything that may catch on fire. A minimum of a three‐foot radius is suggested;

·         Keep devices away from children and pets;

·         Place devices in a safe location to prevent accidental contact or exposure to skin or clothing;

·         Never leave a burning device unattended; and

·         Do not store the fuel gel inside the home.


The Division of Fire Safety serves as the central fire service agency in the State. The Division is responsible for the development and enforcement of the State Uniform Fire Code, as well as for implementing public education and firefighter training programs.

For more information, log on to http://www.nj.gov/dca/divisions/dfs/ on the DCA website.