Kidde has recalled more than 40 million fire extinguishers used in homes, vehicles, and boats because they can become clogged or fail to discharge during a fire.
The company has received one report of a related death in 2014, when a fire extinguisher failed to work during a car fire. There have been 16 injuries, 91 reports of property damage, and 391 reports of the extinguishers either not working at all or not working properly.
But the numbers don’t stop there. The recall includes 134 models manufactured as far back as 1973 and as recently as August 2017. All the units have a plastic handle or plastic push button. Units with a metal handle or valve assembly are not included in the recall. The plastic handles and buttons can break or detach when force is applied.
The fire extinguishers were sold under dozens of different brand names, all listed on the Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notice.
“This recall raises very serious questions about how millions of defective products ended up in the marketplace and why it took the company years or even decades to find out about the problem or take it seriously,” says William Wallace, policy analyst for Consumers Union, the policy and mobilization division of Consumer Reports. “Kidde owes the public an explanation—and the company shouldn’t rest until it gets as many of these fire extinguishers returned as possible.”
The recalled fire extinguishers came in red, silver, and white and were sold nationwide for $12 to $200 at department stores, hardware stores, and home improvement stores, as well as at online retailers, including Amazon and ShopKidde. The fire extinguishers were also sold with some commercial trucks, recreational vehicles, personal watercraft, and boats.