CPSC recalls 15 million surge protectors due to risk of fires, smoke inhalation injuries

by Charles Miller

Schneider Electric IT Corp. has issued a recall of over 15 million APC-brand surge protectors due to reports that the devices were capable of overheating and starting fires, according to the federal Consumer Product Safety Commission. The recall announcement states that there have been at least 700 reports of the APC-brand surge protectors overheating and melting.There have been 55 reported instances of the device catching fire and causing property damage. The announcement states that one home incurred over $900,000 in damage and a medical facility received $750,000 in damage from fires. The devices have also apparently caused at least 13 reported injuries from burns received from touching overheating devices and from smoke inhalation after fires involving the surge protectors.

The surge protectors involved in the recall were sold in the United States from January 1993 until December 2002 at Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA and similar stores. Owners of any of the recalled models should stop using the device and unplug it from the wall as soon as possible. Consumers can then contact Schneider in order to receive a free replacement.

The recall involves APC 7 and 8 series SurgeArrest surge protectors manufactured before 2003. The model and serial numbers are located on a label on the bottom of the surge protector. The two numbers that follow the first letter or letters in the serial number sequence indicate the year of manufacture. The unit is included in the recall if the numbers are 93, 94, 95, 96, 97, 98, 99, 00, 01 or 02. APC and the words Personal, Professional, Performance or Network are printed on the surge protectors. More information about the recall is available at the CPSC website.

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