Action 9 Investigates Safety Of Energy Efficient Light Bulbs



BREVARD COUNTY, Fla. - A Brevard County woman claims the light bulbs she bought to save energy could have burned her house down.

Action 9 found more than two dozen homeowners who believe CFL light bulbs, made by the same company, were a fire hazard.

"It was still smokey in the bathroom, but the odor was horrible; it was a strong electrical smell," said Judy Remmel.

Remmel claims a CFL bulb shot out sparks, flames and smoke at her Merritt Island home.

"That's my fear. If I wouldn't have been home,  my house would be gone," said Remmel.

The bulb Remmel described is a Bright Effects bulb manufactured by Feit Electric.

Remmel said the white base turned brown.

Pictures sent by other customers to the Consumer Product Safety Commission show obvious damage.

Action 9 checked the agency's complaint files. Twenty-four other consumers claimed a Feit CFL bulb could have started fires.

Most said they saw sparks and smoke. Three said they spotted flames and others found melted plastic.

"It seems to me that they are dangerous," said Remmel.

Feit Electric told Action 9 some consumers were concerned about smoke and sparks.

They company said that's how CFL lights can fail in rare cases, but the fire retardant parts will not ignite.

In an interview with UL Labs, the group that rates electrical safety, John Dredgenberg said a smoking bulb can be disturbing but is not a fire risk.

"This is the normal end of life scenario for these compact fluorescent bulbs, especially the earlier versions," said Dredgenberg.

Those safety assurances did not change Judy's mind about what she saw and the risk she felt.

"I've removed those light bulbs from my house," said Remmel.

If there is an investigation, the Consumer Product Safety Commission said it cannot comment.

The CPSC did recall two CFL bulbs just last year. They were both considered fire hazards. Those bulbs were from Telstar and Trisonic and both were made in China.