Fire Risk Prompts Recall of 2.2 Million Dehumidifiers

fire.jpgMore than 2 million dehumidifiers are being recalled after the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission received dozens of complaints that the machines were overheating, smoking and catching fire.

Our product liability attorneys have learned that so far, some 165 adverse incidents have been reported with the dehumidifiers, with at least 46 fires causing an estimated $2.15 million in property damage.

The actual number of fires for which the dehumidifiers may be responsible – and potential injuries resulting – are likely much higher, as some of the fire investigations may be ongoing. In fires that are very severe, it may take fire investigators weeks or sometimes many months to definitively pinpoint the source of the blaze.

What is especially troubling about these cases are the fact that we’re not just talking about one brand of dehumidifier. In fact, there are 12 different brands that are being recalled, with a total of more than 75 different models included.

Those brands include: Danby, DeLonghi, Fedders, Fellini, Frigidaire, Gree, Kenmore, Norpole, Premiere, Seabreeze, SolesAir and SuperClima. All were manufactured at the same facility by a Chinese company named Gree Electric Appliances.

In addition to the 2.2 million units being recalled in the U.S., another 53,000 have been recalled in Canada.

The products were sold throughout the country at a variety of big-name stores, including Lowe’s, Home Depot, Sam’s Club, HH Gregg, Sears and Kmart. They have been sold too online on Ebay.com and Amazon.com. Some were sold as far back as January 2005 and most recently as August 2013, with most ranging in price from $110 to $400.

The units are black, gray, beige or white plastic. The model numbers and date codes should be printed on the sticker posted on the front or side of the unit. All are about 19 to 24 inches in height, 13 to 15 inches in width and roughly 9 to 11 inches in depth.

Dehumidifiers are used for a variety of reasons, primarily in indoor environments where there is excessive moisture that is likely to cause fungus or mold to thrive beneath carpets and inside walls. Infants and those with respiratory or allergy problems often benefit from having a dehumidifier. In Florida especially, these devices are common as indoor humidity levels near beaches and other large bodies of water can be problematic for a number of reasons.

In Massachusetts, just days before the recall was announced, fire rescue crews credited newly-replaced smoke detectors to saving the life of a woman whose home became engulfed in flames in a fire caused by a faulty basement dehumidifier. The woman was thankfully able to escape, though her home is reportedly uninhabitable.

It’s not clear whether the dehumidifier in that case was one of those involved in the recall, but it’s certainly plausible given the scope of the recall.

Consumers should check the CPSC’s website to see whether their dehumidifier is on the recall list. If it is, consumers should immediately turn off the device, unplug it and contact Gree in order to receive a full refund.

Anyone who has suffered fire damage or injury as a result of one of these defective dehumidifiers should contact our offices to speak with an experienced product liability lawyer to learn more about the type of compensation to which you may be entitled.

The Ferraro Law Firm handles defective product claims nationwide. Call 1-800-275-3332 for a free and confidential consultation. Offices in Miami and Washington, D.C.

Additional Resources:

Gree Recalls 12 Brands of Dehumidifiers Due to Serious Fire and Burn Hazards; More Than $2 Million in Property Damage Reported, Sept. 12, 2013, Press Release, Consumer Product Safety Commission

More Blog Entries:
NHTSA: Defective Vehicles Affect Millions Annually, Dec. 7, 2013, Product Liability Lawyer Blog

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