CPSC, Warns That Old Servel Gas Refrigerators Still In Use Can Be Deadly

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 22, 1998
Release # 98-145
Company Phone Number: (800) 782-7431
CPSC Consumer Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: Ken Giles, (301) 504-7052

CPSC, Warns That Old Servel Gas Refrigerators Still In Use Can Be Deadly

WASHINGTON, D.C. - Government safety experts continue to warn consumers to stop using Servel gas refrigerators manufactured between 1933 and 1957 due to the risk of carbon monoxide leakage in deadly quantities.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports there have been at least 39 incidents in the U.S. involving these old Servel gas refrigerators, causing 22 carbon monoxide-related deaths and 55 injuries nationwide. There also have been incidents reported in Ontario, Canada, causing 60 deaths.

Because historical sales and distribution records of these early Servel models are unavailable, it is not possible to determine who still owns and uses these refrigerators. The Servels continue to be used in hunting cabins, vacation cottages and remote areas of the nation where there is no electricity, or where gas is the preferred energy source.

Over a period of time, especially if the refrigerator has not been used recently, the gas burner can be fouled by dust, dirt, rust or other obstructions. Any gas refrigerator with an improperly adjusted or partially plugged burner can produce substantial amounts of carbon monoxide.

Consumers can call the Servel Corrective Action Committee (SCAC) toll free at (800) 782-7431 anytime to receive a rebate package that includes instructions for disposing of their Servel gas refrigerator. Consumers who properly dispose of their old Servels will receive a $100 rebate plus reimbursement for reasonable disposal costs.

Since this recall program was launched in 1990, more than 22,000 refrigerators have been destroyed. On average, 100 new requests for rebates are mailed to SCAC monthly, demonstrating that there are still many more in use.

Consumers who insist on keeping their old Servel refrigerators should move them to an outdoor shelter, shed or garage not connected to the house or cottage. CPSC urges owners to secure or restrict access to refrigerators kept outside and, when discarding any refrigerator, to remove its door. This will prevent children from playing in the refrigerator and possibly getting trapped and suffocating inside.

CPSC advises that all gas refrigerators be serviced regularly by licensed technicians in order to assure their safe operation. They also should be inspected after they are moved and before they are turned on after a seasonal shutdown. Special attention should be paid to blockages in burners and flues.

No longer in business, Servel manufactured gas refrigerators between 1933 and 1957. The Servel refrigerators in question are no longer being produced and are in no way associated with the Dometic Corp., the current manufacturer of Servel brand name products.

Servel Gas Refrigerator Servel Gas Refrigerator
Servel Gas Refrigerator