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First Coast family seeks retribution, claiming PatioGlo bio-gel fuel firebox burned daughter

12:04 AM, Dec 22, 2012   |    comments
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JACKSONVILLE, Fla. -- A Jacksonville family wants retribution after they say a candle exploded and set their 33-year-old daughter on fire. They're now fighting the manufacturer while their daughter fights for her life.

"It's unbelievable, man. If they see pictures of my daughter, they wouldn't sell it again."

Bill Plato struggles to keep his composure as he talks about his daughter, Mandy.

On November 11th, the Plato's say a gel-fuel firepot -- a decorative candle -- exploded in Mandy's mother's hand as she tried to relight the flame at her Westside home.

"Maureen took the bottle; she took off the cap and poured the fuel gel into the empty pot," explains the family's lawyer, Curry Pagcic. "At that time, it was like a napalm bomb went off. The vapors flashed back into the bottle, exploded and spewed the fiery napalm-like gel all over her daughter and the bottle shot backwards like a rocket behind her," he says.

Mandy's mother, Maureen, says doctors say it will take years for Mandy to recover from the burns that scorched over 40% of her body.

"If she can't lift her arm, they may have to go back in to cut more to expand that area," she says. "If she can't stretch her neck all the way back, they'll have a need to go back in and re-graft, so things like that we're not going to know for the next couple of years they said. That's going to be on-going."

In October 2011, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission and manufacturer, the Marshall Group, recalled nearly 40,000 bottles of the product the Platos used, called PatioGlo bio-fuel gel, because of fire and burn risks. However, on the notice, the company told retailers only to post the recall until January 12, 2012.

Pagcic says despite the recall, the products are still being sold online and in stores in Jacksonville. According to an investigator working with the family, he was able to purchase the gel at a local store on December 20th.

First Coast News tried to contact that store and the Marshall Group, but neither could be reached for comment.

Though Mandy's story is painful, the Platos say their main goal is to make sure hers is the last one told, like this.

First Coast News

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