Action 9: Woman says florescent light bulbs nearly started fire in her home

by: Don Griffin Updated:


CHARLOTTE, N.C. - A woman threw out her florescent light bulbs after she said they nearly started a fire in her home.

After finding more than two dozen other complaints against the same company, Action 9 contacted the owner to find out if the customers are at risk.

"It was still smoky in the bathroom, but the odor was horrible, said Judy Remmel.

Remmel claims a CFL bulb shot out sparks, flames and smoke at her home. She feared what could have happened if the house had been empty.

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

The bulb 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.

Commission files showed 24 other consumers claim Feit CFL light bulbs could have started a fire in their homes. Most saw sparks and smoke and three spotted flames. Others found melted plastic.

"It seems as if they're dangerous," said Remmel.

Feit Electric told Action 9 that in rare cases, CFL bulbs can fail, resulting in smoke and sparks, but the fire retardant parts will not ignite.

In a Skype interview with UL Labs, which rates electrical safety, John Dregenberg said a smoking bulb can be disturbing, but it is not a fire risk.

"This is the normal end-of-life scenario for some of the compact florescent light bulbs, especially the earlier versions," said Dregenberg.

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

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