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Fire Marshal warns of risk of explosion with some gas fireplace models

Gas can accumulate after failed attempts to light the appliance.
Gas pilot light
(Ontario Fire Marshal's office)

TORONTO — The Ontario Fire Marshal's office has issued an alert about a safety hazard associated with the pilot lights of certain gas-fueled fireplaces.

Accumulation of gas in the fireplace following failed attempts to light the appliance may lead to an explosion.

Fire Marshal Jon Pegg issued the warning Wednesday.

It follows several joint investigations with the Ontario Technical Standards and Safety Authority which identified deficiencies in some models.

"As a result of these investigations, we determined that too many Ontarians have been injured while trying to safely light their gas fireplace," Pegg said.

"Working with the TSSA, we have identified design deficiencies...and consumers should take preventative steps if they have these appliances in their homes."

Fireplace brands and models with deficiencies can be found in the TSSA director's order.

Owners of these appliances are advised to follow the recommendations of the TSSA and Health Canada.

Pegg said the risk of an explosion occurs after several failed attempts to light the fireplace when:

  • the pilot light burners become blocked by dust or dirt
  • burner ports become blocked by misplaced decorative features
  • gas valves stick
  • fireplace vents become blocked

The fire marshal said consumers should also follow manufacturer's instructions for the proper installation, use and maintenance of gas fireplaces. 

He said all fuel-fired appliances should also be inspected and cleaned annually by a certified technician.