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Toy Helicopter Batteries Recalled for Fire Hazards

Aug 20, 2008 | Parker Waichman LLP

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), in collaboration with two firms, has announced two voluntary product recalls.  One recall is for a battery-operated helicopter and the other is for propane-fueled flame weeders.  Both recalls have been initiated over fire hazards.  Reports of problems have been received in both cases.

Hobbico Inc. of Champaign, Illinois is recalling batteries used in 11,000 radio-controlled helicopter kits due to fire hazard.  The helicopter’s rechargeable battery can overheat and catch fire while charging, igniting nearby combustible materials. This poses a fire hazard to consumers and Hobbico has received 28 reports of batteries overheating and/or melting, including 27 reports of flames and minor property damage.  Although no injuries have been reported, thus far, this is not the first time such a product has been recalled for fire hazard issues.  The product was manufactured in China.

The recall involves the Electrifly lithium-polymer batteries (part #GPMP0401) sold individually or with the Heli-Max Axe CP-L radio-controlled helicopter kits, which includes a 23-inch long plastic helicopter; a battery; a radio transmitter; a balance charger’ a car adapter; an AC wall adapter; decals that read “HMX,” “AXE,” and “Heli-Max”; and training gear.  “Electrifly” and “GPMP0401” are printed on the battery.  The batteries were sold at Hobby Stores nationwide and online from November 2007 through March 2008 for about $35; helicopter kits were sold for $200.

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the recalled batteries and contact Hobbico for instructions on returning their battery for a free.  Hobbico can be reached toll-free at (866) 462-2426 from 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. CT Monday through Friday or at its recall Websites at or to register for the recall.

In the second recall, about 2,000 Flame Weeders imported by Gardener’s Supply Company of Burlington, Vermont are being recalled because of fire and burn hazards.  The Flame Weeder’s two-piece brass control valve can separate between the Flame Weeder and the propane tank, which allows propane to leak from the tank.  The CPSC and Gardener’s Supply received three reports of the valve control leaking propane, including one report of flames.  No injuries have been reported.

The Flame Weeders—which were manufactured in the United Kingdom—are used to burn weeks and have a long, silver-colored metal tube with a blue plastic handle.  The handle is attached by a two-piece valve to a one-pound propane tank.  The Flame Weeders were sold Gardener’s Supply stores in Burlington and Williston Vermont, through the Gardener’s Supply catalog, and at from March 2008 through July 2008 for about $50.

Consumers are advised to immediately stop using the Flame Weeders and return them to the store where purchased or call Gardener’s Supply for a full refund, including any shipping costs. Gardener’s Supply is directly contacting consumers who purchased the recalled flame weeders and consumers can reach Gardener’s Supply for additional information at 800-876-5520 between 8:00 a.m. and 8:00 p.m. ET Monday through Friday or via its Website at

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