Cybex International has started recalling 33,719 treadmills sold between 1993 and 2001 that could be a fire hazard because of the possibility of overheating and a subsequent ignition of accumulated dust inside the treadmill's hood. Five fires have been reported with other reports of smoke damage to the area. No injuries have been reported.
The recall alert, in cooperation with the federal government's Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), is expected to be announced this week by the CPSC.
"It's not an issue that's in every treadmill," Cybex General Counsel Jordan Mersky told SNEWS. "But we decided to be overly cautious about this even though we have five reports of 33,000."
The CPSC and Cybex have advised consumers to unplug and to stop using the treadmills immediately and to contact Cybex (888-678-3846) for free repairs by a Cybex technician. Dealers were sent letters informing them of the problem in late September and have the choice to contact their customers themselves or to send their lists to Cybex.
The treadmills recalled have both the Cybex and Trotter names, are all consumer or vertical-market low-profile models, and include the Cybex 400T, Cybex 410T, Trotter 510, Trotter 525, or Trotter 535. The recall also includes the CTX+, which does not have either the Cybex or Trotter name. The USA-made equipment was sold through Cybex dealers and direct from Cybex International, between September 1993 and October 2001 for about $4,000, the CPSC statement said.
According to Mersky, there is a crimp in a choke line that causes a spark and, if the treadmill has not been maintained well or dusted as recommended, the spark could cause a fire under the hood by igniting the dust. Any other available fuel source could cause the fire to spread, Mersky said. "At the end of the day, it's a spark."
Although the company decided to recall all those that have the outside possibility of having this defect, Mersky said it could only be a few -- especially since it's taken years for this to surface. He said the company went to the "highest common denominator" -- that of being the low-profile consumer or vertical-market treadmills -- in deciding on the models and numbers to be recalled.
"We had no idea this was happening until a couple of years ago," he added. "It caught our attention when we heard a treadmill had caught fire, and it seemed odd to us."
He said the company got its first report of smoke damage recently, and then evaluated the potential problem when it could finally get the treadmill from the insurance company in April. By late July, the company knew there might be an issue, and contacted the CPSC in August about a recall. The expense to the company could be great -- not because of the minor fix to the choke line that costs a few cents or the couple of minutes to access it, but rather because of the technician's time and travel to inspect the treadmill. At this point, he said, the company has no idea what to expect in response.
Added Mersky, "We don't expect to get 33,000 calls tomorrow."