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Suffolk County Legislature Bans Gel Candles

The law was enacted after a Riverhead boy was severely burned.

The Suffolk County Legislature gave a Riverhead burn victim a special kind of birthday present on Tuesday when it passed "Michael's Law," which bans the sale of gel candles in Suffolk County.

The proposal was inspired by Michael Hubbard, a Riverhead boy who was . Tuesday was his 15th birthday.

Hubbard was refueling a gel candle on May 28 when the decoration exploded, burning 40 percent of his body including his face, chest and arms. Hubbard remains in a coma from the accident.

The law bans the sale of semi-solid, ethanol-based gel, often used as fuel in gel candles. The ban passed by a 18-0 vote, with no debate or opposition to the bill. 

Bill Faulk, an aide to County Legis. Ed Romaine, R-Center Moriches, said it was important to get the dangerous product off the shelves quickly.

"We wanted to protect other families in Suffolk County so they wouldn't have to face the tragedy that Michael's family has dealt with," Faulk said. 

Romaine and others acted within days of the incident to create the law, Faulk said, and have spent the past few months tweaking the bill.

Hubbard's family were in attendance at the time and spoke to the Legislature. Fran Reyer-Johnson, Michael's aunt, thanked Romaine and all of the legislators for passing the bill on a website devoted to Michael's recovery. 

"Maybe the entire state will ban these candles, and then maybe the nation," she said. "Happy Birthday Michael - We love you."

Mark Wilson August 18, 2011 at 04:25 PM
My Suffolk County legislator is too busy working with my Town Board councilperson helping "developers", turn over socalled "preservation" properties into commercial properties, for mutual profit. Otherwise, I'd contact them.
majortom1981 August 18, 2011 at 08:20 PM
UM did you even READ the article. They did step in by BANNING it in Suffolk county.
Mark Wilson August 18, 2011 at 08:35 PM
"majortom1981 4:20pm on Thursday, August 18, 2011 UM did you even READ the article. They did step in by BANNING it in Suffolk county." GROUND CONTROL TO MAJOR TOM, UM......For sure !
Chez November 08, 2011 at 12:42 AM
I do not know this young man, or his family, but he has been severely injured in an accident at home, and I think some respect and consideration should be shown to him, his family and friends, instead of disagreeing as to whether this product should be banned or not.
Penny Benbenek November 08, 2011 at 02:30 AM
84 comments & counting - wow Mister I Post Every Other Comment, you should be proud...this must be a new record for you, in keeping the jabs & low blows & general negativity flowing. The fact is, a young man was severely injured & in serious condition. But this fact is lost on you as you completely bypass his family members & totally discount Michael's and their pain & irretrievably changed lives. So bent on seeing your own opinions and harangues against Ed Romaine or whomever you choose to bully on any given day. We get it already. Maybe you should write to Ed Romaine directly? Just a thought. Getting back on track... God Bless young Michael and his family as they all try to recover from this horrible accident. We've done enough "nothing" to last a lifetime...someone had to stand up & try to make sure no one else gets hurt from these home made IEDs.

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