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Defective product could case fire in West Virginia homes

Many West Virginia households have at least one surge protector. We trust these devices because they are designed to protect our equipment and keep down the risk of fire from a blown electrical outlet. However, when it turns out that the very thing that is supposed to help keep a family safe is a defective product, a recall may be in order.

That is exactly what has happened with a surge protector manufactured by Schneider Electric. The company is recalling somewhere in the neighborhood of 15 million of its surge protectors due to the possibility of overheating and/or fire. The product that is the subject of the recall is the APC SurgeArrest, which was made in either the Philippines or China.

The surge protectors were sold at stores like CompUSA, Best Buy and Circuit City between Jan. 1993 and Dec. 2002. Consumers are being asked to immediately stop using the surge protector and even unplug it from the outlet. A free replacement product can be obtained by contacting Schneider Electric.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has so far taken 700 complaints about the surge protectors. Of those complaints, 13 involved injuries ranging from burns received from touching the product and smoke inhalation. There have been 55 reports regarding damage to property from either smoke and/or fire. One home reportedly sustained damages upwards of $916,000, and a medical facility sustained damage totaling as much as $750,000.

The damage possible from the use of this defective product is significant. People in West Virginia may benefit from checking any surge protectors in their home or business to see whether it is an APC SurgeArrest. Anyone that has already sustained damage or injury from one of these faulty surge protectors has the right to file a products liability claim against Schneider Electric.

Source: USA Today, Fires prompt recall of 15 million surge protectors, No author, Oct. 3, 2013

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