OR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
NEWS from CPSC
U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission
|Office of Information and Public Affairs
||Washington, DC 20207|
|FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
||CONTACT: Ken Giles|
|July 22, 1998
||(301) 504-0580 Ext. 1184|
|Release # 98-145|
CPSC, Warns That Old Servel Gas Refrigerators Still In Use Can Be
WASHINGTON, D.C. - Government safety experts continue to warn
consumers to stop using Servel gas refrigerators manufactured between 1933 and
1957 due to the risk of carbon monoxide leakage in deadly quantities.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) reports there have
been at least 39 incidents in the U.S. involving these old Servel gas
refrigerators, causing 22 carbon monoxide-related deaths and 55 injuries
nationwide. There also have been incidents reported in Ontario, Canada, causing
Because historical sales and distribution records of these
early Servel models are unavailable, it is not possible to determine who still
owns and uses these refrigerators. The Servels continue to be used in hunting
cabins, vacation cottages and remote areas of the nation where there is no
electricity, or where gas is the preferred energy source.
Over a period
of time, especially if the refrigerator has not been used recently, the gas
burner can be fouled by dust, dirt, rust or other obstructions. Any gas
refrigerator with an improperly adjusted or partially plugged burner can produce
substantial amounts of carbon monoxide.
Consumers can call the Servel
Corrective Action Committee (SCAC) toll free at (800) 782-7431 anytime to
receive a rebate package that includes instructions for disposing of their
Servel gas refrigerator. Consumers who properly dispose of their old Servels
will receive a $100 rebate plus reimbursement for reasonable disposal costs.
Since this recall program was launched in 1990, more than 22,000
refrigerators have been destroyed. On average, 100 new requests for rebates are
mailed to SCAC monthly, demonstrating that there are still many more in use.
Consumers who insist on keeping their old Servel refrigerators should
move them to an outdoor shelter, shed or garage not connected to the house or
cottage. CPSC urges owners to secure or restrict access to refrigerators kept
outside and, when discarding any refrigerator, to remove its door. This will
prevent children from playing in the refrigerator and possibly getting trapped
and suffocating inside.
CPSC advises that all gas refrigerators be
serviced regularly by licensed technicians in order to assure their safe
operation. They also should be inspected after they are moved and before they
are turned on after a seasonal shutdown. Special attention should be paid to
blockages in burners and flues.
No longer in business, Servel
manufactured gas refrigerators between 1933 and 1957. The Servel refrigerators
in question are no longer being produced and are in no way associated with the
Dometic Corp., the current manufacturer of Servel brand name products.
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 via Internet gopher services at cpsc.gov or report product hazards