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Crate & Barrel Recalls Hanukkah Menorah

December 20, 2003|Roger Vincent | Times Staff Writer

It's one thing for your menorah to burn brightly this Hanukkah. But the whole house?

Housewares retailer Crate & Barrel said Friday that it was recalling about 800 menorahs that may catch fire if the candles they hold are allowed to burn all the way down, as is customary in Jewish tradition. The clear acrylic menorahs, which were made in India, were sold in 60 Crate & Barrel stores and online from October through Thursday.

The defect was discovered by a celebrant who started observing the holiday a day early because she planned on traveling Friday, the first day of Hanukkah, said Bette Kahn, a spokeswoman for the Northbrook, Ill.-based retailer. The menorah with sunken brass candle cups ignited, Kahn said.

"It more melts than burns," Kahn said. "It doesn't burst into flames."

No one was injured in the incident, but the unhappy owner e-mailed Crate & Barrel and the company quickly announced a recall in cooperation with the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It wasn't clear how many of the menorahs were sold by the company's 20 California stores.

The chain pulled the dangerous menorahs and attempted to reach all 800 customers who bought them before the Jewish festival of lights began at sundown Friday. The holiday celebrates the miracle of a small amount of oil that provided eight nights of light during a temple rededication centuries ago.

Crate & Barrel's wholesale buyers tested the product, Kahn said, but didn't think to let the candles burn all the way down. Kahn, who was reached Friday in Illinois before she left for temple, did not buy one of the melting menorahs.

"I'm still using the one I got when I got married 50 years ago," Kahn said.

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