NEW YORK - Schneider Electric is recalling 15 million of its surge protectors because they may overheat or start a fire.
The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission says it has received 700 reports of overheating and melting, and 55 reports of property damage from smoke and fire, including $916,000 in fire damage to one home and $750,000 in fire damage to a medical facility.
There were 13 reports of injuries, including smoke inhalation and burns from touching the surge protectors.
The devices plug into outlets and are supposed to protect electronics from power surges. The recalled items were made in China and the Philippines before 2003 and are branded as APC SurgeArrest.
They were sold at Best Buy, Circuit City, CompUSA and other stores from January 1993 to December 2002 and cost between $13 and $50. Consumers should immediately stop using the recalled surge protectors, unplug them and contact Schneider Electric at (888) 437-4007 or www.apc.com for a free replacement.