Whitby burn victim launches lawsuit against ethanol-fuelled lamp company

Douglas Foston, with scars on 28 per cent of his body, hired a lawyer in hopes of getting rid of all ethanol products sold in stores.

Douglas Foston was sitting on his porch with his wife Roxanne back in 2014 on a warm August night. They had just finished their dinner and all was right in the world.

Then Roxanne grabbed some ethanol to refill their table lamp. “I waited about 20 minutes to relight the lamp and when I blew out the match, then I looked up and about four feet away, my husband was engulfed in flames.”

A couple of weeks at Sunnybrook Hospital, eight skin graphs and 120 staples later, Foston was able to go home. Sadly, things never went back to normal.

“It sounds very bad but I am grateful it didn’t happen to me because I wouldn’t have coped the way Doug did,” his wife says. “I don’t think I would have made it.”

Fast forward a couple of years and Foston, still with scars on 28 per cent of his body, sat down with his wife to research if something as horrific as this has happened to anyone else.

Story continues below advertisement

Sure enough, they found an incident where a Peterborough dentist Dr. Judith Buys was using a similar product at her cottage and caught fire and eventually died in hospital.

READ MORE: Family of late Peterborough dentist suing ethanol lamp-maker for $12M

After hearing about this incident, Foston went out and hired a lawyer in hopes of getting rid of all ethanol products sold in stores.

The lawsuit is against the China-based company ‘Ningbo Kwungs Home Interior Gift Co Ltd.’ which manufactured this particular ethanol lamp.

They are also targeting ‘Clair De Lune Inc.’ the store they purchased the lamp at in Oshawa.

“Even if you follow all the rules, ethanol is colourless,” lawyer Sandra Train says. “You can’t tell if there is spillage. You can’t tell if there is a flame going. Ethanol is a danger to use.”

Foston’s wife Roxanne knows that this sort of thing can happen again saying, “I can’t let it go because they are still being sold and it could happen to a baby, it could happen to a child, you know, it can kill somebody.”

Consumers can report unsafe products to Health Canada.