ROBINSON TOWNSHIP (KDKA) — When a fire is roaring in your face and you reach for that long-forgotten fire extinguisher, you depend on it unleashing a shower of white fire suppressant and saving your home.
But the Consumer Product Safety Commission says, with Kidde fire extinguishers, that’s not always guaranteed.
CPSC Chairman Ann Marie Buerkle says Kidde extinguishers, with plastic mechanisms, are an issue, and “it’s a product that a lot of people have in their homes and in their offices.”
In almost 400 documented incidents, the plastic-topped extinguishers have either clogged, failed to fire or the plastic mechanism has popped off. Sixteen injuries have been tied to the extinguishers and one death.
Kidde is recalling almost 38 million of the extinguishers in the United States and almost three million more in Canada. The extinguishers were made between 1973 and Aug. 15 of this year.
The model numbers and identifiers of the recalled extinguishers can be found on Kidde’s website and on CPSC.gov, and consumers can get a replacement free of charge. Kidde can also be reached at (855) 271-0773
Both the government and Kidde emphasize the importance of getting rid of the faulty extinguisher.
Former fire marshal James McMullen says, “If you attack a fire thinking you’re going to put it out with a defective fire extinguisher, and it doesn’t work, you put yourself in harm’s way.”
Moon Township Fire Chief John Scott takes it a step further.
“You’re risking your life,” he says. “You may get hurt in the fire, you may go down in the fire. You could be overcome by smoke and no one may know you are there. You could perish.”
In our region, the extinguishers were sold at Sears, Home Depot, Walmart and Amazon.com.
The faulty products have been removed from those store shelves, but it’s the extinguishers already out there under stoves and sinks that has the company and CPSC concerned.
The CPSC’s Buerkle says people should not take chances.
“Get a new fire extinguisher free of charge in your home and have that certainty that it will work,” Buerkle said.