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sounds as though you need to get the thermocouple(copper wire that sits in the pilot flame) replaced, check first to make sure it is tight at the gas valve end, as they can loosen over time due to expansion and contraction.
The part is ordered by Model number, a serial number is no help, and yes there is a part called the flame sensor that allows the gas to stay on, I am sure if you contact a local supplier they can provide a suitable substitute gas valve or sensor if it is a stand alone part, on most the sensor is part of the gas valve. I think you will end up having a local shop try and match up the valve.
Gas apliances have safety features built into them so you don't blow yourself up. The pilot heats a thermocoupler which tells the gas valve there is a flame, open the main gas to the burner. If you can see the flame area of the pilot look for a round post about 3/16 inch in diamiter. This should be directly in the flame, if not bend the bracket so it is in one side of the pilot flame. The thermocouple is attached to a mounting bracket. This will be held in place by a 1/4 inch hex screw. remove the screw and the capilary tube leading to the gas control valve. Before you do anything, close the main gas supply to the fireplace and disconnect the power to the fan. You may need to semi dismantle the fireplace to get the thermocouple. The gas valve end is a brass 1/4 pipe thread plug. Turn the outer nut and remove without twisting the tube. Reverse this order to install a new one. Besure not to twist the capilary tube, tighten brass nut 1/4 turn past hand tight. Your better heating supply house will have these in stock. Restarting the pilot will take a few tries because the gas was off. Your gas suplier would charge about $75 to fix this. if you don't have the proper tools and it dosen't look pretty stright forward don't do it. You could get dead.