@Clayton-Smit Sounds like you either got a bad stove or a bad canister or both  or possibly you may have cross threaded the stove on the canister thread.

I suspect what happened is that the stove did not open the canister valve sufficiently to provide enough pressure to allow the stove to burn correctly but just enough gas leaked out to burn near the base of the stove causing that part to heat up and maybe open up the canister valve causing the fire.

Note: I am not an REI employee.