The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) is urging consumers to examine their in-wall electric heaters to determine if they are among the 1.9 million Cadet and Encore brand heaters recalled in February 2000. Although the Cadet Manufacturing Co. heaters were sold and distributed primarily in California, Idaho, Montana, Oregon, and Washington from about 1978 through 2000, some of the heaters were sold in other states. A four-year old boy died on September 14, 2002, in Alexandria, Va., when one of the recalled Cadet heaters allegedly was involved in a house fire.
CPSC strongly urges consumers to stop using these heaters and have them replaced if they have one of the recalled models. Consumers who had their heaters repaired under Cadet's original program in 1997 still need to get their heaters replaced. Consumers are advised to contact the Cadet informational Hotline or visit their website www.cadetco.com for where to buy replacement heaters.
The following models of Cadet and Encore brands were involved in the February 2000 recall: FW, FX, LX, TK, ZA, Z, RA, RK, RLX, RX, RW, and ZC . The brand and model are located on a label on the front of the heat box, behind the grill. Before removing the grill to check the identification label, consumers must turn off the power supply to the heater at the electrical panel board (circuit breaker or fuse box). If power is not turned off, consumers risk electrocution.
CPSC alleged that these Cadet and Encore brand in-wall electric heaters are defective and can overheat and catch fire. Flames, sparks, or molten particles can spew through the front grill cover of the heater into the living area of a residence, putting consumers at risk from fires, including burn injuries, smoke inhalation, and property damage. The heaters and their grills also can become energized, creating a risk of electric shock.
CPSC is aware of more than 320 reports of heaters that smoked, sparked, caught fire, emitted flames, or ejected burning particles or molten materials. These incidents have allegedly resulted in four deaths, two serious burn injuries and property damage claims exceeding $4.3 million, which includes six partial or total house fires.
In January 1999, CPSC filed a lawsuit against Cadet to compel it to recall the heaters. Cadet filed for bankruptcy the same month. Working with the company and its creditors, on February 17, 2000, CPSC and Cadet announced a settlement of the lawsuit and a recall of the heaters. Cadet agreed to make new heaters available to Cadet owners at significantly reduced prices. However, due to Cadet's bankruptcy, the opportunity to obtain discounted heaters expired on February 17, 2002.
Since the heaters pose a fire hazard until they are replaced, consumers should have at least one fully operational smoke detector on every floor of their home, especially near bedrooms. To ensure that the detector's batteries are working, test the detector every month. Consumers also should have a well-defined and rehearsed escape plan and an alternate escape plan in the event of a fire.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission is charged with protecting the public from unreasonable risks of injury or death associated with the use of the thousands of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. Deaths, injuries and property damage from consumer product incidents cost the nation more than $900 billion annually. CPSC is committed to protecting consumers and families from products that pose a fire, electrical, chemical or mechanical hazard. CPSC's work to ensure the safety of consumer products - such as toys, cribs, power tools, cigarette lighters and household chemicals - contributed to a decline in the rate of deaths and injuries associated with consumer products over the past 30 years.
Federal law bars any person from selling products subject to a publicly-announced voluntary recall by a manufacturer or a mandatory recall ordered by the Commission.
To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury go online to www.SaferProducts.gov or call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638-2772 or teletypewriter at (301) 595-7054 for the hearing impaired. Consumers can obtain news release and recall information at www.cpsc.gov, on Twitter @OnSafety or by subscribing to CPSC's free e-mail newsletters.