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Portable gas stove warning from pair badly burned in canal boat blaze

Two people who were severely burned when a canal boat home went up in flames want others to be aware of the dangers of portable gas stoves.

Posted on 15 May 2023

April and Josh had spent two years restoring April’s narrow boat, Ausrine, but it was engulfed in a fire that started on the single-burner Paroh Ltd Yellowstone steel portable gas stove they had purchased for £15 at Tesco in August 2017.

Josh, a craftsman, aged 35, suffered major burns and was in intensive care for a week and in hospital for a further three weeks. April, a stained-glass maker, aged 32, suffered severe burns to her hand.

The pair believe the fire was caused by either a gas leak on the stove regulator which ignited then inflamed the gas cylinder, or the stove’s safety mechanism failed to operate, which then heated the gas cylinder to the point where it exploded.

The gas stove is no longer available at Tesco and Paroh Ltd does not display the product on its website.

However, portable gas stoves which operate in the same way as the one that caught fire on the boat are still widely available, say product safety lawyers who represented April and Josh in their civil claim against the two companies.

The blaze happened in late September 2018 when Ausrine was moored on the River Avon.

Josh and April were working on the boat when the gas stove exploded. Josh and April were able to escape the fire but the boat was destroyed. They both sustained substantial burns.

Leigh Day product safety lawyers argued the stove was not of satisfactory quality, and not reasonably fit for the purpose for which it was required. The claims were settled without an admission of liability by Tesco and Paroh Ltd for sums that will allow the Josh and April to access the treatment that they need.

Josh and April’s claims were brought under the Consumer Protection Act 1987 and Consumer Rights Act 2015 against Paroh Limited, the importer of the stove, and Tesco Stores Limited, the seller of the stove. The claims were advanced on the basis that the stove was not as safe as persons generally should be entitled to expect and were settled following negotiations with the Defendant solicitors.

Leigh Day lawyers said Josh and April’s claims show the risks associated with “lunchbox” style gas stoves, several of which have been subject to international recalls.

April said:

“I want to raise awareness of the risks of these stoves, which are used so commonly in the canal and boating communities.”

Leigh Day product safety solicitor Philippa Wheeler said:

“It’s truly concerning that these cheap and widely available types of stove can pose such a risk to consumers. We would urge people to think twice about purchasing this sort of product and encourage regulators to do more to ensure the safety of portable stoves on the market in the UK. These lunchbox stoves are inherently dangerous in the way in which they are designed and this is shown by the multiple international recalls for similar stoves. We know these stoves are widely available and would call on manufacturers and sellers to consider whether these stoves should be taken off the market permanently given the proximity of the gas bottle to the stove’s flame, and the explosion risk associated with this.”

Leigh Day worked with barrister Isabel Barter of 2 Temple Gardens on the case.

Josh and April were also helped by the Katie Piper Foundation, a charity dedicated to supporting adult survivors of burns and people with scars from traumatic incidents. They received treatment via the charity’s specialist rehabilitation programme.

 

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Philippa Wheeler (1)

Philippa Wheeler

Philippa is a solicitor in the product safety team

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