Consumer News: How to make sure your fire extinguisher is not being recalled

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WHEC) — In consumer news, I’ve heard from a number of you who have questions about your fire extinguisher. One of those questions was from a 92-year-old viewer who called me Wednesday morning. I looked up her model number, and sure enough, it was on the recall list. But when she called Kidde, a customer service representative told her the extinguishers were too old, and she should go to Home Depot and buy a replacement. So I did some digging. If you have a Kidde fire extinguisher, here’s why you should as well.

His name was Brendan Rosko. According to the foundation that bears his name, he loved baseball and swimming and excelled at both. His athleticism was matched only by his intellect. This kid learned Spanish in one summer by constantly practicing the language with his co-workers. It surprised no one that this bright, outgoing kiddo chose to major in chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburg.

It was August of 2014. Brendan was driving down a Pennsylvania road when he lost control of the car, hit a tree, and the car caught fire. According to public records, police were there quickly with Kidde fire extinguishers in hand. But neither of their fire extinguishers worked, and Brendan was trapped in the car.

Twenty-two-year-old Brendan Pollock Rosko died that day, and his death was the impetus for a sweeping investigation of Kidde fire extinguishers. Three years after Brendan’s death, Kidde recalled almost 38 million fire extinguishers with plastic handles because they can get clogged and fail to discharge life-saving chemicals in an emergency.

Extinguishers under recall have either a plastic handle or plastic push button. In both types, you’ll find the model number beneath the instructions on your extinguisher.

As for Kidde, I reached out to them about our 92-year-old-viewer, and a spokesman sent me the following statement:

"The safety of our customers and the quality of our products has always been our top priority. As you are aware, in 2017 Kidde worked closely with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission to initiate a voluntary, broad recall of specific fire extinguisher product lines. We worked closely with relevant authorities to ensure that these fire extinguishers were recalled as quickly as possible and replaced with different, unaffected models. We are dedicated to fulfilling all eligible consumer recall and have replaced nearly 100% of all eligible, requested customer recall replacement claims through the end of 2020.

"Included in the scope of the recall were H110G models with dates of manufacture between January 2, 2012 and August 15, 2017. On January 13, Ms. Lee contacted our Customer Support Center regarding her H110G fire extinguishers, and advised the Customer Support representative that her units were manufactured in 2003 and 2005 – years that are not included in the recall. As safety is our top priority, our Customer Support representative then counseled Ms. Lee that she may want to consider replacing her fire extinguishers as they had exceeded their recommended useful life, between 10-12 years.

"We apologize to Ms. Lee for any confusion, and as a private gesture of goodwill, we are offering a free replacement for her models. We will ask that she send an email to us with her shipping address.

"For consumers who wish to evaluate whether their extinguishers are included in the recall, we have developed a video and recall guide that can help. These clearly show which extinguishers are being recalled and those that are not. The guide and video are available here. We encourage all consumers who may believe they have affected fire extinguishers to inspect today.

"We strive to provide the highest level of customer service, and we appreciate WHEC (and you) for bringing this matter to our attention. We are always glad to hear from our customers."