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391 malfunctions, 16 injuries, 1 death get 44 years of fire extinguishers recalled

Fire extinguisher maker Kidde recalled 40.5 million fire extinguishers Wednesday, a recall that covers 134 models manufactured over 44 years including models involved in two previous recalls.

This comes three years after a car fire that turned fatal after a Kidde fire extinguisher failed to work.

The problem with the fire extinguishers, as stated in the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission recall notice, is “The fire extinguishers can become clogged or require excessive force to discharge and can fail to activate during a fire emergency. In addition, the nozzle can detach with enough force to pose an impact hazard.”

This recall covers 134 models produced from Jan. 1, 1973, through Aug. 15, 2017. These have plastic handles or were the push-button Pindicator models. They were sold at every kind of store, from 20th century brick-and-mortar stalwarts such as Montgomery Ward and Sears to big boxes such as Walmart and The Home Depot to online retailers such as and Some commercial trucks, RVs and boats came with the fire extinguishers also. To check the Kidde models covered, click here.

Also included in this recall are the 4.6 million fire extinguishers recalled in 2015 after 11 reports of the devices failing to discharge fully and the 167,000 recalled in 2009 recalled when the pressurized cylinder could lose pressure. No injuries had resulted from those malfunctions at the time of the recalls.

There are many numbers and dates on the foods, drugs, cosmetics, and other products we use every day. Some help manufacturers track inventory, while others help retailers ensure quality. But when unsafe products must be removed from the market, th

A death resulted from this malfunction. In a 2014 flaming car crash, the company admits in the recall notice, “Emergency responders could not get the recalled Kidde fire extinguishers to work.”

In addition, Kidde admits in the recall notice, “There have been approximately 391 reports of failed or limited activation or nozzle detachment, including the fatality, approximately 16 injuries, including smoke inhalation and minor burns, and approximately 91 reports of property damage.”

Kidde, based in Mebane, NC, is offering replacements, not refunds. Customers should call the company at 855-271-0773, 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Eastern time, Monday through Friday, or 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., Eastern time, Saturday or Sunday.

The recall FAQ section of Kidde’s website says, “No proof of purchase is required. Please supply the model number, year of manufacture, the unit’s date code and serial number. Additional information may also be requested. You can find the model number and serial number on the unit’s label.”

The construction company New Yorker Walter Kidde began in 1900 turned to developing new ways to put out fires int he early 1900s. The company incorporated in 1968 as Walter Kidde & Co. and became a horizontal conglomerate. When the company was overextended in 1987, Hanson Trust, a United Kingdom company, bought Kidde for $1.7 billion.

David J. Neal: 305-376-3559, @DavidJNeal