SUNY Fredonia warns a cheap decorative lamp is setting dorm rooms on fire. Pretty, inexpensive lamps like these can often be found in college dorms and studio apartments.
In two separate student rooms, the plastic shades melted on the lamps. In one room, this caused the build-up of toxic fumes and the melted plastic from the shade burned a hole in the bedspread. The second instance involved another student who had turned on the lamp and, within 15 minutes, the shade melted and the heat began to turn a poster on the wall brown.
Underwriters Laboratories, the group that certifies that things won’t burn down dorms and studio apartments, believes the lamp in question is different from the one they approved. They are withholding their seal from new lamps, effectively shutting down production.
SUNY’s notice warns the lamps are available at Bed Bath & Beyond and Walmart. The former seems to have removed the lamp from their site, but good old reliable Walmart is still selling the luminous tinderbox. “Color shades include red, blue, green, yellow, white, and FIRE!” Ok, we made that last one up. If you have the lamp, beware. Only you can prevent campus fires. — CAREY GREENBERG-BERGER