Washington, D.C. – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) and American Household Inc. (AHI), formerly known as Sunbeam Corporation, of Boca Raton, Fla., have announced the nationwide recall of about 60,000 Star ME-1 dry fire sprinklers. Chemetron Corporation, an inactive subsidiary of AHI, manufactured these sprinklers from 1977 through 1982. This recall announcement follows the resolution of an administrative proceeding filed by CPSC on October 9, 2001, in which CPSC alleged these sprinklers are defective and are likely to fail to operate in a fire, thereby exposing consumers to the risk of death or serious injury.
CPSC reports that samples of Star ME-1 sprinklers removed from several locations and tested by independent testing laboratories did not operate as intended. Although there have been no reports that Star ME-1 dry sprinklers manufactured by Chemetron Corporation have failed to operate while in use, CPSC has received reports of two failures involving Star ME-1 dry sprinklers manufactured by other companies. One report involved a 1976 sprinkler, and the other, sprinklers installed in 1990.
Chemetron’s Star ME-1 sprinklers have the following information molded onto the sprinkler: the name “Star,” the designation “ME-1,” and the year of manufacture, starting with 1977 and ending with 1982. These sprinklers were typically installed in areas of buildings where the sprinklers or water supply pipes may be subject to freezing. Examples of such areas include unheated attics, freezers and coolers, porches, and parking garages. The types of facilities in which the sprinklers were installed include nursing homes, convalescent and long-term care facilities, supermarkets and other stores, warehouses, hospitals, and office buildings.
Although Sunbeam Corporation filed for bankruptcy protection in February 2001, AHI has agreed to pay up to $1 million to assist in the replacement of the Star ME-1 dry sprinklers that Chemetron manufactured from 1977 through 1982.
To receive payment for sprinkler replacement, consumers must follow specific procedures and must submit claims by September 29, 2005. For more information, consumers should call (888) 551-5014 toll-free anytime or visit the recall Web site at www.starme1recall.com. CPSC previously announced that Mealane Corporation voluntarily agreed to recall Star ME-1 sprinklers manufactured from 1961 through 1976 and Central Sprinkler Company voluntarily agreed to replace Star ME-1 fire sprinklers manufactured from 1996 through 1998. The Sprinkler Corporation of Milwaukee, which manufactured Star ME-1 sprinklers from 1983 through 1995, has no assets with which to fund a recall, but is issuing a safety notice warning building owners to replace these sprinklers.
For more information, visit www.cpsc.gov.