SOUTH EUCLID, Ohio – A local fire department is warning consumers about a solar-powered light after a resident reported it unexpectedly burst into flames, damaging his home.
In television commercials and on its website, the makers of Ever Brite market the motion-activated LED light as an inexpensive way to brighten outdoor spaces.
However, Johnny Hunt, 89, said it caused costly damage to his South Euclid garage.
“I heard this ‘pop,’” Hunt said. “And I turned around, and I saw this blaze.”
He said he was working outside last week when the light suddenly caught fire above his garage door. He said he was able to use a towel to extinguish it before it spread, but the fire destroyed the light and burned and melted vinyl siding.
“I wouldn't want that to happen to nobody because, had I not been here at this particular spot, the house could've burned down,” he said.
Hunt said his relatives and neighbors have been trying to contact the makers of Ever Brite on his behalf for days but have not received a response. So, he took the device to the South Euclid Fire Department for examination.
Fire Prevention Officer Scott Sebastian said he began searching for a product recall, but found none. Instead, he found other customers who have reported similar incidents across the country involving the “sold on tv” product.
In one post, a consumer warns the product is “unsafe” while another reviewer warns others to “stay away.”
Ever Brite did not respond to emails and phone calls from FOX 8 News seeking comment about the fires.
“A lot of them are located on garages or they're by front doors or on decks, and all these things are combustible,” Sebastian said. “If nobody's home, if it's still in place, it can do some damage to the home.”
He said several other fire inspectors he called had not heard of problems with the devices.
The South Euclid Fire Department IS planning to have an electrical engineer examine Hunt's device this week to pinpoint a cause, including whether the fire may have originated in the lithium ion battery, according to Sebastian.
He warned other consumers to beware.
“Just better to be safe, to remove it from your home,” he said.
Hunt said he’s hoping to shed light on the potential risk to other consumers.
“I would not recommend this to a dog,” he said.