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Thompson Legislation to Prevent Fire Accidents Signed Into Law

Dec 28, 2020
Press Release
Bill championed by local Sonoma County constituent, Margrett Lewis

Washington – Today Rep. Mike Thompson (CA-05) announced that his Portable Fuel Container Safety Act was signed into law as part of H.R. 133, the omnibus spending bill. The legislation was championed by his constituent Margrett Lewis.

“Flame accidents have tragic consequences, but the solution is smaller than a dime and cheaper than a nickel. When my constituent, Margrett Lewis, came to me with her family’s story, I knew we had to do something,” said Thompson. “That’s why I am proud to see this critical bill become law so we can implement the simple and cost-effective solution of flame mitigation devices. Thank you to Margrett for being a tireless champion for this bill and for helping to keep our communities safer from flame accidents.

“It’s bittersweet. This law, too late to save my daughter from the horrors of a burn unit, ensures that every year, 1,000s will be protected from tragic burn injuries and death. I’m so proud of her and her twin sister for moving forward,” said Margrett Lewis, a local Sonoma mother who championed the drafting and passage of the bill.

“The passage of this bill will undoubtedly reduce the occurrences of the phenomena of ‘flame jetting’ in this nation and the resulting burn injuries that are so painful, debilitating and disfiguring,” said Napa County Fire Captain Steven G. Becker, who helped to bring this issue to Thompson’s attention before the first bill introduction. “With such a small monetary cost for the solution, the resulting reduction of the injuries, associated suffering and expense of what usually is lifelong treatment, the consumer will experience very little impact aside from increased safety.”

Under current standards, flammable or combustible liquids can ignite within their containers causing more than 160,000 fires, injuring nearly 4,000 people, and killing 454 each year. Flame mitigation devices can help prevent these types of accidents, but currently there is no requirement for them to be used for the consumer containers found in most homes and for everyday use. Thompson’s bill establishes safety standards to help prevent these tragic accidents and you can click here to learn more.

“The Portable Fuel Container Safety Act will prevent hundreds of people from suffering disfiguring burns each year by implementing a low-cost safety improvement to prevent flame-jetting,” said Harold A. Schaitberger, General President of the International Association of Fire Fighters which represents more than 323,000 professional fire fighters. “This important, life-saving legislation is now law, thanks to Representative Thompson and his commitment to its passage.”

“Burn injuries are among the most severe any patient can face. In addition to untold pain, burn survivors must endure a lengthy treatment, recovery, and rehabilitation period, sometimes lasting a lifetime. This legislation will create common-sense safety measures for portable fuel containers that will prevent thousands of injuries each year,” said William L. Hickerson, MD, FACS, President of the American Burn Association.  

The legislation is endorsed by the American Burn Association, the Congressional Fire Services Institute, the International Association of Fire Chiefs, the International Association of Fire Fighters, the National Association of State Fire Marshalls, the National Volunteer Fire Council, the National Fire Protection Association, and the Phoenix Society of Burn Survivors.

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Congressman Mike Thompson is proud to represent California’s 5th Congressional District, which includes all or part of Contra Costa, Lake, Napa, Solano and Sonoma Counties. He is a senior member of the House Committee on Ways and Means where he chairs the Subcommittee on Select Revenue Measures. Rep. Thompson is Chairman of the House Gun Violence Prevention Task Force. He is also Co-Chair of the bipartisan, bicameral Congressional Wine Caucus and a member of the fiscally-conservative Blue Dog Coalition.