CPSC Warns Consumers to Replace Star ME-1 Dry Fire Sprinklers Made by Sprinkler Corporation of Milwaukee -- Administrative Lawsuit Settled, Firm Financially Unable to Conduct Recall --

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
April 25, 2003
Release #03-117
CPSC Consumer Hotline: (800) 638-2772
CPSC Media Contact: (301) 504-7908

CPSC Warns Consumers to Replace Star ME-1 Dry Fire Sprinklers Made by Sprinkler Corporation of Milwaukee
-- Administrative Lawsuit Settled, Firm Financially Unable to Conduct Recall --

WASHINGTON, D.C. - The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) today is warning consumers regarding approximately 400,000 Star ME-1 dry fire sprinklers manufactured from 1983 through 1995 by Sprinkler Corporation of Milwaukee, Inc. (SCM), formerly known as Star Sprinkler Corporation. CPSC warns that these sprinklers present a safety risk and should immediately be replaced. This warning follows the resolution of an administrative proceeding filed by CPSC on October 9, 2001, in which CPSC alleged these sprinklers are defective and are likely to fail to operate in a fire, thereby exposing consumers to the risk of death or serious injury. CPSC reports that samples of Star ME-1 dry sprinklers removed from several locations and tested by independent testing laboratories did not operate as intended. CPSC has received reports of two failures involving Star ME-1 dry sprinklers. One report involved a 1976 sprinkler, and the other, sprinklers installed in 1990.

Because SCM is no longer in operation and has no assets, it is unable to conduct a recall, so no free replacement or refund is available for its sprinklers. Nevertheless, SCM urges building owners to follow CPSC guidance by inspecting the sprinkler systems in their buildings and replacing any Star ME-1 fire sprinklers manufactured from 1983 through 1995.

SCM's Star ME-1 sprinklers have the following information molded onto the sprinkler: the name "Star," the designation "ME-1," and the year of manufacture starting with 1983 and ending with 1995. These sprinklers were typically installed in areas of buildings where the sprinklers or water supply pipes may be subject to freezing. Examples of such areas include unheated attics, freezers and coolers, porches and parking garages. The types of facilities in which the sprinklers were installed include nursing homes, convalescent and long-term care facilities, supermarkets and other stores, warehouses, hospitals, and office buildings.

Replacing these sprinklers also complies with the requirements of the recently revised "National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 25: Standard for the Inspection, Testing and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems." Specifically, NFPA 25 now advises that all dry sprinklers that have been in service for 10 years or more should be immediately replaced or tested. Star ME-1 fire sprinklers produced before 1994 are specifically subject to this requirement. Although not subject to the revised standard, Star ME-1 fire sprinklers produced from 1994 through 1995 also should be replaced because, according to CPSC, over time, they can cease to operate effectively in a fire.

For more information about testing and replacing dry type fire sprinklers, visit NFPA's Web site at www.nfpa.org. For more information on the SCM Star ME-1 fire sprinklers, call CPSC's Hotline at (800) 638- 2772 or visit the National Fire Sprinkler Association's Web site at www.nfsa.org

This notice applies only to Star ME-1 fire sprinklers with manufacturing dates from 1983 through 1995. The following firms are recalling Star ME-1 fire sprinklers produced before 1983 and after 1995. Further information can be found by contacting the recalling firms: 1961-1976 - Mealane Corporation at (800) 866-7807 or www.star-recall.com

1977-1982 - American Household Inc. (formerly Sunbeam Corp.) at (888) 551-5014

1996-1998 - Central Sprinkler Company (800) 871-3492 or www.SprinklerReplacement.com

Picture of Recalled Sprinkler Picture of Recalled Sprinkler

SCM Sprinklers