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November 25, 1994

Release # 95-027
CONTACT: Kathleen Begala
(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1193

Gilbert Manufacturing Co. Warns of Potential Fire/Shock Hazard of its Christmas and Seasonal Lights

WASHINGTON, D.C. In cooperation with the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), Gilbert Manufacturing Co. of Long Island City, N.Y., is warning owners of its Christmas and seasonal light sets that a potential fire or shock hazard may result if both latches of the fuseholder are not securely fastened.

Consumers should close the fuseholder completely before plugging in the lightstring or decorative outfit. After replacing the fuse, consumers should make sure that the cord is flat in its cover channel before closing and latching the fuseholder at both ends.

CPSC received two complaints that the light sets sparked and the plastic fuseholder or the plastic cord charred or melted. To date, no injuries have been reported.

Since 1980, Gilbert has manufactured more than 40 million light sets with the fuseholder sold nationally by a variety of major and own label distributors including, NOMA International Inc., Beacon Electric, General Electric Co., Leco Electric, Lidco Co., Markee Products, J. Hofert Co., R.C. Co., and Plastic Assembly Corp. The name of the distributor and in some cases the Gilbert name are printed on the carton of the UL-listed light sets that currently retail for up to $8.99 at retail stores such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc. and Kmart Corp. and other discount, chain, department, and specialty stores.

The light set strings, which can have from 7 to 50 bulbs, generally have 25 of the larger C7 or C9 (candelabra or intermediate size) bulbs. Most sets have a connector that allows the consumer to attach an additional string to the lights. Miniature light sets are not involved.

Each light set has a plastic Gilbert fuseholder that is 1.5-inches long, located on each light set cord about 4 to 6 inches from the plug. Each fuseholder has a hinged cover that fits over the line cord and a bottom part holding the 7 amp fuse. When properly assembled on the cord, the fuseholder cover is fastened to the bottom part by snapping down the two latches at each end of the fuseholder. One side of the fuseholder says "Fuseholder, 125V., 7A. Max, Pat Pend" and the other side says "Push Under Tabs To Open." The flap inside the fuseholder is labeled "E73208." A 7-amp fuse is included in each fuseholder.

Gilbert has placed a warning label on each of its light sets manufactured and sold this year advising consumers of a risk of fire or shock if the fuseholder is not fully closed or if the cord is not lying flat in its channel. Gilbert is also offering the warning label information free to consumers who have previously purchased the light sets. Consumers are urged to call the Gilbert Manufacturing Co. toll free at (800) 899-7584 to receive one or more free labels as a permanent reminder of the potential fire hazard and for information about the light sets. Gilbert will mail consumers their requested labels with instructions for safer lights. Consumers should not use their light sets until they review the instructions on the label.

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 obtain this release and recall information or report product hazards to