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May 30, 1991 (301) 504-0580
Release # 91-080

Explosion Hazard of Fire Extinguishers Prompts American LaFrance and BECO Recall

WASHINGTON, DC -- Two models of American LaFrance fire extinguishers and one model of BECO fire extinguishers, which were manufactured from May 1985 through December 1985, are being recalled by Badger-Powhatan of Charlottesville, VA in cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC).

The plastic valve and nozzle assembly of the three models of fire extinguishers could blow off with enough force to cause serious injury, due to a defect in the threads connecting the nozzle assembly to the red cannister. Badger-Powhatan has received reports of 100 explosion incidents. While there have been only three injuries reported by the manufacturer, there have been several incidents in which the nozzle assembly blew off with sufficient force to imbed it in a wall or ceiling.

Approximately 84,000 American LaFrance and BECO fire extinguishers, models P-250MA and P-275RA, are being recalled. The model numbers and serial numbers of these recalled extinguishers are printed on the cannister label and include the following:

American LaFrance Serial Numbers
Model P-250MA FS024000 through FS087500
FZ650001 through FZ656500
Model P-275RA FS834501 through FS836000
FZ638001 through FZ647500
Model P-250MA FM947501 through FM949500
FZ780001 through FZ781500

The fire extinguishers were sold nationwide in retail stores for approximately $9 to $15 each, or were installed by contractors and manufacturers in buildings, boats, or mobile homes.

Badger-Powhatan advises its customers to check all American LaFrance and BECO fire extinguishers for the model numbers and serial numbers identified above. Consumers are cautioned to handle the fire extinguisher carefully with the nozzle assembly pointing to the ground and return it to the nearest authorized American LaFrance or BECO distributor. For the location of the nearest distributor, consumers may call Badger-Powhatan at 1-800-922-3499 Monday through Friday from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. (Eastern Time).

A free replacement fire extinguisher will be given to consumers by the American LaFrance or BECO distributor in exchange for any recalled extinguishers.

CPSC learned of the fire extinguisher problem from Georgia Fire Department personnel, who reported five explosion incidents involving the defective models.

The CPSC is announcing this recall program as part of its mission to protect the public from unreasonable risks of injury and death associated with consumer products. The CPSC is the Federal agency responsible for product safety. Some 15,000 different kinds of consumer products fall within the Commission's jurisdiction and each year these products are involved in an estimated 29 million injuries and 22,000 deaths.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission protects the public from the unreasonable risk of injury or death from 15,000 types of consumer products under the agency's jurisdiction. To report a dangerous product or a product-related injury and for information on CPSC's fax-on-demand service, call CPSC's hotline at (800) 638-2772 or CPSC's teletypewriter at (800) 638-8270. To order a press release through fax-on-demand, call (301) 504-0051 from the handset of your fax machine and enter the release number. Consumers can report product hazards to