Americans preparing for holiday cookouts warned of 155,000 dangerous gas grills

Friday, May 24th 2002, 12:00 am
By: News On 6

WASHINGTON (AP) _ People preparing for Memorial Day barbecues should avoid using Red Devil gas grills because they have a design flaw that has already caused serious burns, safety officials warned.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said Friday that it had wanted the importer of the grills to recall about 155,000 of them, but the company _ known as both Quantum North America Inc. and e4L Inc. of Encino, Calif. _ has gone out of business.

The design problem allows consumers to light the grill at an air intake tube, instead of at the burner, the agency said. Though the grill appears to work normally, gas inside the tube ignites and the tube can get dangerously hot. The heated tube can also damage a plastic support piece on many of the grills and cause them to collapse.

The company and the government received 44 reports of grills collapsing and consumers suffering burns to legs, hands and fingers, including some third-degree burns. Before the company went out of business, more than 1,000 consumers returned grills that had collapsed.

The company did not immediately return calls seeking comment on Friday.

These red metal grills have a logo on the lid showing a devil cooking at a grill and the words ``Red Devil'' and ``The Portable Outdoor Kitchen.'' The black plastic base, above the tripod stand, reads ``QUANTUM HOMEWARES.''

The company sold the grills directly to consumers through television infomercials from May 1998 through January 1999 for about $160. Stores and Web sites also sold the grills.

Earlier this year, the Home Shopping Network and QVC warned their customers directly about the grills and provided instructions on how to light them properly, the agency said.

The government said that for grills purchased elsewhere, consumers should stop using them immediately and dispose of them to prevent injuries. Since the company has declared bankruptcy, no refunds, replacements or repairs are available. For more information, consumers can call the safety commission at 1-800-638-2772.

About 19,300 of the grills, sold directly by e4L, were recalled in July 1998 because the burners could disconnect from the burner pan. Even if consumers participated in this previous recall, the CPSC said the grills are still dangerous and consumers should stop using them.