Consumer news: Check your fire extinguisher today. Here’s why.

Deanna Dewberry
Updated: January 13, 2021 11:56 AM
Created: January 12, 2021 06:55 PM

In consumer news, your fire extinguisher. When was the last time you checked it? I hope you will after you read the story of West Chester, Pennsylvania native Brendan Roscko. According to the foundation that bears his name, Brendan’s athleticism was matched only by his intellect. He loved baseball and swimming and excelled at both. He also was a great student and learned quickly. According to the foundation, he learned Spanish one summer just by practicing the language with his Latino coworkers.

He majored in chemical engineering at the University of Pittsburgh. One August day in 2014, Brendan’s car careened off a Pennsylvania road, hit a tree, and caught fire. According to public documents, police soon arrived and they had Kidde fire extinguishers.

So they pulled the pin to unlock the extinguisher and squeezed the handle. Nothing happened. Neither of the fire extinguishers worked, and Brendan was trapped in the car. Brendan Rosko died that day. He was 22 years old. His tragic story is just one of the complaints Kidde has received from consumers over the last two decades. Brendan's parents sued, and their case was settled.

As for Kidde, a spokesman told Consumer Reports, "Kidde is committed to ensuring our products are safe and dependable, especially those related to life safety such as fire extinguishers."

Last week, the Consumer Product Safety Commission fined Kidde $12 million because the government says Kidde knew about the problems for years and didn't report it. In 2017, years after Brendan's death, Kidde finally issued a recall of almost 38 million fire extinguishers going back to 1973. But there are likely millions of these extinguishers still in homes. So if you have a Kidde fire extinguisher with a plastic handle, you need to make sure yours isn't under recall. Click here to go to the CPSC website to see where to find the serial and model numbers as well as the date code.

There on that site, you’ll find the 134 models of Kidde fire extinguishers under recall. Consumer Reports has published an extensive investigation of the Kidde fire extinguisher defects. Click here to read that.


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