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Christmas Lights Recalled Because of Exposed Wires

December 20, 1997|FRANK MESSINA | SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

About 1.5 million "curtain-style" Christmas lights sold nationwide over the last two years are being recalled, according to a joint release by the Orange County Fire Authority and the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission.

Carried by major retailers such as Wal-Mart, CVS Pharmacy and Montgomery Ward, the indoor-outdoor lights were ordered by the safety commission to be recalled because of exposed wires.

Although no incidents have been reported, the risk of electrocution prompted the safety commission and the Fire Authority to publicize the recall.

"There were so many of them sold, about 1.5 million," said Ken Giles, a safety commission spokesman. "While we haven't had any electrocutions, we want to prevent the possibility of that."

The lights are sold under the brand names Curtain, Icicle and Wonder Lights. They are most often seen cascading from the eaves of homes or buildings as part of an outdoor Christmas display.

The defect stems from a loose-fitting plastic cover for splices that slides easily to expose bare, 110-volt wiring, Giles said.

Although no incidents have been reported in Orange County, "we consider it a hazard," Fire Authority Capt. Scott Brown said. "We're asking people to check their lot numbers and return them to the store."

A Wal-Mart representative said the company did not carry the lights this year after getting reports about the exposed wiring.

"We had heard there was a possible hazard with them," said Les Copeland, director of public relations for Wal-Mart.

Other retailers that carry the lights include BJ's Wholesale, Builders Square, Caldor, Frank's Nursery & Crafts, Hechinger, Hobby Lobby, Home Quarters, MJ Designs, Rite Aid Pharmacy, Sam's Club, Shopko, Venture and Walgreen.

Sold in 100- to 150-bulb strings, the lights cost $6 to $19, Giles said.

The lot numbers of the defective lights, located on each string near the plug, are: E115759, E126258, E127357, E127522, E48723, E64444, E65770 and E97593.

For more information, call the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission at (800) 638-2772.

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