Does It Really Work: Grotto's on Fire Fireball - KWWL - Eastern Iowa Breaking News, Weather, Closings

Does It Really Work: Grotto's on Fire Fireball

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    Does It Really Work?

    You've seen the commercials for a certain As Seen on TV product. But you're wondering, Does It Really Work? KWWL tests out the most popular products to find out.More >>
    You've seen the commercials for a certain As Seen on TV product. But you're wondering, Does It Really Work? KWWL tests out the most popular products to find out.
    More >>

HIAWATHA (KWWL)-  When it comes to protecting the home and loved ones, there's always the desire to have the latest fire-fighting technology.  Is Grotto's On Fire Fireball an effective means in fire protection?

It's a product that has burst onto the scene... Grotto's On Fire is an automatic extinguisher that discharges a fire-fighting powder when the product reaches a heightened temperature.

The product advertises to simply place it near potential hot spots, leave it and class A, B, and C fires are history.

But is it a product safe for your home?

To help answer that question we bring in Hiawatha's fire chief Mike Nesslage.

Even before the fireball is removed from the box, Nesslage notices a critical piece of information missing.

"I always look for the UL listing, that means it's been tested and evaluated and we know it's going to work, and I don't see a UL listing on here,'' Nesslage said.

Opening the box isn't any more comforting.

''It looks like it's got a stand, some screws, but no instructions," he said.

To test the product we simulate a fire on the stovetop.   Of course, there's a simple way to put out such a fire.

"Put a lid on it, turn the stove off, and the fire goes right out." he said.

To demonstrate how the product works, Nesslage places the ball directly above the fire.

We wait.   And wait.   And wait.   More than four minutes, and the product doesn't deploy.   So we try the demonstration again, this time putting the ball even closer to the fire, and 15 seconds in, the product explodes as it's designed to do.

The fire is gone, and so too is any hope Nesslage would use the fireball in his own home.

''It was scary,'' he said.  ''You don't realize what it is.  It was a loud explosion and a loud boom. Any time you're at a fire and you hear that, that scares you.''

Instead, Nesslage recommends equipping the home with a more traditional firefighting method.

''The best alternative you have is residential fire extinguishers.  They're going to deploy; they'll put the fire out.''

Nesslage also reminds property owners to have fire extinguishers and working smoke detectors.

One test isn't sufficient enough evidence to grade this product and determine whether it's a product you'd want in your home.  But right now, you'll be hard-pressed to find a fire department in the state of Iowa that would recommend it.

Grotto's On Fire did put the small fire out in a matter of seconds, once we set the ball in the right spot, but there's still plenty of questions that remain.

Since heat rises, would the fireball work if stored at floor level?

Would the product douse the flames every time?

And more importantly, could someone be hurt if in close proximity to the explosion?

The product's safety data sheet, which can be found here, does not address these concerns. Most notably, because laboratories have not performed sufficient testing on the product, other fire departments we spoke with refused to give it a ringing endorsement.

Grotto's On Fire can be purchased online for $39.95. 

Online Reporter:  Jason Epner

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