FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE  
June 21, 1983  
Release # 83-036
 

Washington, D.C. -- In cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission, Mark Engineering Inc., Fitchburg, Massachusetts, warns owners that Model 1C of their "Whistle Switch" Remote Control Device, manufactured prior to June 30, 1978, may present a fire hazard. The product was also private labeled for the Invento Products Corp., Long Island City, New York, as the "Sonic Switch." The firm estimates that 7,000 units remain in use.

CPSC is aware of more than 10 incidents where the product has overheated, smoked, and in some cases sparked or ignited. The incidents have resulted in one reported injury in Hyannis, Massachusetts, when a consumer burned her hand attempting to remove a flaming Whistle Switch from an electrical outlet. Minor property damage has been reported.

The model 1C Whistle Switch or Sonic Switch is an electrically operated remote control switch for household appliances. The switch is housed in a 2 l/2" by 4 l/4" by 2" beige colored plastic case, which plugs into an electrical outlet. An appliance can be plugged into the receptacle at the front of the switch. The switch can be turned on or off by squeezing a hand held, remote control ultrasonic whistle. The ultrasonic whistle is housed in a black plastic case.

The product can be identified from a reverse side label attached to its plastic case of the switch. Mark Engineering reports that the problem can occur after an extended period of use when the two watt carbon resistors inside the unit overheat and/or fail. Subsequent models, identified as Model 2C and 3C, were redesigned to correct this problem.

Mark Engineering Inc. will repair all model 1C Whistle Switches or Sonic Switches returned by consumers. The company warns all owners of this product to discontinue the use of their unit and to unplug it at once. The firm advises owners to adequately package and return their model 1C remote control switch to: Mark Engineering Inc., P.O. Box 193, Fitchburg, Massachusetts 01420.

To assure proper handling, consumers should put their name and address on a separate piece of paper and include it with their returned unit. The company advises consumers that only its model 1C switches are affected and that it would not be responsible for other model switches or other products returned. Further, Model 1C units previously returned to the company for repair have already been modified and need not be returned again. Consumers who have questions regarding the return of their unit to Mark Engineering Inc., can contact the company at 617-342-6034.

Information concerning this matter is also available to consumers on CPSC's toll free Hotline at 800-638-CPSC. A teletypewriter number for the hearing impaired is (301) 595-7054.