Just hours before Chanukah began, the popular catalog store Crate and Barrel recalled 800 menorahs because of a fire hazard.
If the candles in the menorah are allowed to burn down completely, the menorah’s acrylic base can ignite, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said in an official statement on December 19 (Chanukah began that evening). The statement warned consumers not to light any candles in menorahs purchased this season at Crate and Barrel.
Crate and Barrel was informed of the defect by a customer one day before Chanukah and immediately retested the product to determine whether it was dangerous; the menorah failed this safety test. Although all products sold by the company are tested, said Crate and Barrel spokesperson Bette Kahn, the company had originally tested only the menorah’s ability to withstand heat and had not let the candles burn all the way down to the base. The custom on Chanukah is to let candles burn completely without extinguishing them.
“For 24 hours we manned the phones, e-mailed customers, tried any way to get hold of individual people who bought the menorah,” Kahn said. “We went through Internet and store records to track down as many customers as possible to inform them of the risk.”
According to the official statement, one incident involving the menorah was reported; nobody was injured.
The “Hanukkah Menorah,” which sold for $25 dollars at Crate and Barrel stores and through its online catalog, was made of a clear acrylic base with brass candle cups. Manufactured exclusively for Crate and Barrel, it was introduced in October and was the only menorah sold by the company this year. According to Kahn, this was the first year the company sold a menorah made of acrylic, and it will not do so again.
After pulling the defective menorahs off store shelves, Crate and Barrel did not offer any other menorahs for sale this season. “We do get a lot of requests for menorahs and Jewish items, and received some complaints that we didn’t have enough Chanukah items for sale this year,” Kahn said. “However, while we want to serve our customers, we want to serve them correctly and safely.”
Customers who purchased the “Hanukkah Menorah” can return it to the company for a full refund.