Sterno found in the little cans of stuff that you set on fire under chaffing dishes to keep them warm at Christmas and other parties. It is a solid waxy material that burns very hotly with a bright blue flame. It is largely made of ethanol (the stuff they put in gasoline) with just a touch of methyl alcohol added to give it the proper deadly tang. I noticed again a few days ago that cans of Sterno which are used by pulling the removable metal top off and setting the Sterno mixture inside on fire carry the warning, “DO NOT USE NEAR FIRE OR FLAME” Which begs the question so what should you do with a can of Sterno?
I have heard that some people liquefy it and drink it for a cheap high but the methyl alcohol in it will eventually lead to blindness or death which of course would solve the problem of having to wonder what to do with it because you would no longer be able to read the Do Not use Near Fire or Flame Warning.
Sterno is also sold under the moniker, “Canned Heat,” which brings to mind the uncomfortable images of a police officer being stuffed into that little can only later be set on fire to warm someones Pasta Primavera .
Truly the lawyer who in a fit of hyper-liability consciousness or possibly and even more frighteningly after a successful law suit over this issue, directed that this warning be placed on the can probably couldn’t carry one in his briefcase to court as an exhibit because if he or she did, it might be too ” Near” the fires of Hell.