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."