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December 16, 2010

As cold weather sets in and consumers use alternate sources of heating such as portable heaters, they should be aware of a recall affecting 2.2 million heaters sold at Wal-Mart stores across the country that could cause burns and fires.

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced today that Wal-Mart Stores Inc. is voluntarily recalling Flow Pro, Airtech, Aloha Breeze & Comfort Essentials 1500 watt heaters because of reports of injuries and property damage.

These defective heaters can malfunction, resulting in overheating, smoking, burning, melting and fire.

Of the 21 incidents reported to the manufacturer, most were property damage beyond the heater itself. However, four cases had injuries, three of which required medical attention for burns and smoke inhalation.

Wal-Mart sold these heaters nationwide from December 2001 through October 2009 for about $18.

Consumers can identify these heaters by their grey color, metal handle on top, vents and 2 grey control knobs on the front. They can find the model number 1013 on a label applied to the lower left corner of the back panel of the heater.

According to a government report released in January 2010 by the U.S. Department of Homeland Security and U.S. Fire Administration’s (USFA) National Fire Data Center, they estimate that 3,800 fires involving portable heaters occur each year in the United States. While portable heater fires account for only 2% of all residential building fires, they are responsible for 25% of all fatal residential building heating fires.

Consumers should stop using these heaters immediately. Wal-Mart is offering a full refund to consumers to return the product to any store. Consumers with questions can contact Wal-Mart toll-free at (800) 925-6278.

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