Gas fireplaces, inserts made in Minnesota exploding; recall issued

Thousands of gas fireplaces and inserts made in SW. Minnesota may be subject to explosions.

Ambiance fireplace that is subject to a recall because of explosions.

Photo: U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission,

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Thousands of gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts made in southwestern Minnesota are being recalled after reports of at least nine explosions that caused minor damage and injured two people, federal regulators said Friday.

The recall issued by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) covers nearly 16,000 Kozy Heat, Ambiance and Stellar Hearth gas fireplaces and fireplace inserts sold in the United States and Canada, the agency said. They were made between October 2009 and April 2013 by Hussong Manufacturing of Lakefield, a city 160 miles southwest of Minneapolis.

Although the recall covers all models produced during this period, only units that contain the American Flame IPI control system are included, according to a statement by Hussong Manufacturing.

Carl Purvis, a CPSC spokesman, said this is the first recall on record for Hussong Manufacturing, although more than a dozen other gas fireplace or gas insert manufacturers have been involved in recalls since 1998.

Anyone with one of these fireplaces or inserts is urged to stop using it immediately because the main control module can allow gas to be released and build up in the burner, “posing an explosion hazard,” the CPSC warned.

Consumers should turn off the gas to the units and contact the outlet where the unit was bought or Hussong to schedule a service call and have the ignition board on the main control module upgraded, the agency added. There is no charge to the homeowner for labor or parts, according to Hussong.

While all three brand names are covered under the recall, Burnsville-based ­Stellar Hearth Products said it has notified the CPSC that none of its fireplaces made by Hussong have malfunctioned.

Different pilot light system

“If we had any problems out in the field, we would have known that,” Stellar co-owner Ross Morrison said Friday.

“We use the same control module [as Kozy and Ambiance], kind of the brains of the fireplace, but we team it up with a different pilot system,” Morrison added.

Morrison said the recall ­covers only 320 of his units, all of them full fireplaces.

Hussong said it was alerted to nine incidents of gas being released prematurely and exploding, resulting in minor property damage and two reports of people suffering abrasions. No one affected by the incidents required medical attention.

President Jim Hussong said in a statement, “This is ­something that had come about in a very small percentage of units after the fireplaces were installed in homes over a period of time in certain environmental conditions.”

The family-owned ­business was founded in 1976 and employs more than 100 people in Lakefield.

For a complete list of model numbers affected and company contact information, visit http://kozyheat.com/media/43715/Recall_Poster .pdf or call 1-800-638-2772 or 1-800-253-4904.

paul.walsh@startribune.com • 612-673-4482 john.ewoldt@startribune.com • 612-673-7633

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