An estimated 11 million homes have gas fireplaces. You may think your gas fireplace is safe because the fire is contained. What you might not realize is the safety glass can reach temperatures up to 500 degrees. Third degree burns can occur within seconds at 140 degrees Fahrenheit. Even after the fireplace is turned off, it typically takes 45 minutes before it cools down to a safe temperature.
The Risks of Glass-Front Gas Fireplaces
Children, especially under the age of two, are at an increased risk of gas fireplace burn injuries because they’re busy exploring and unsteady on their feet. Between 1999-2009, 2,000 children, ages 5 & under, suffered burn injuries from fireplace glass.
Currently, there are no federal regulations requiring manufacturers to protect people from the hot glass. The Consumer Protection Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has notified the industry and allowing them to develop a fix. The industry has proposed a new safety standard that would require all gas fireplaces come with a barrier screen that would keep hands and fingers away from the hot glass and hopefully prevents gas fireplace burn injuries. The voluntary rule doesn’t take effect until January 2015, but many manufacturers are already offering safety screens.
What You Should Do
Consumers are recommended to contact their gas fireplace manufacturer to see if they sell or offer a barrier screen to fit their fireplace.
A manufacturer has a duty to make a safe product. Manufacturers of these dangerous fireplaces oftentimes do not warn or instruct consumers of the extreme danger in touching the fireplace doors even for an instant, including the risk of third degree burns, nor do they provide a screen that would protect toddlers from this hazard. Product liability cases against these manufacturers seeking compensation for the burns to infants have been successful throughout the country.
Our client’s gas fireplace burn injury story was recently featured on WTHR. Click here to see and hear their story.
We encourage you to call our office if we can help in such a case. We can be reached at 800-525-8028 or online at WKW.com.Source: Hearth, Patio & Barbecue Association