LA City Attorney Accuses Wildfire Protection Company of Misleading Customers

balboa-park-fire-july-2019
NBCLA

A product billed as an exterior coating that protects homes from wildfires is not as resilient or safe as advertised, Los Angeles city and Santa Barbara County prosecutors said Monday as they announced a civil enforcement action against the production company.

Los Angles City Attorney Mike Feuer said the product, SPF 3000, is made by Marina del Rey-based company Sun FireDefense, and testing determined the coating was unable to protect wood at 3,000 degrees Fahrenheit, as it claims.

The product also contains two chemicals included on California's list of prohibited synthetic substances, he said.

Feuer said he could not identify the chemicals because they are trade secrets that had been provided in a subpoena.

"If you're selling a product that you claim protects homes from wildfires, it better work as advertised. Lives depend on it," Feuer said. "They have not substantiated their claims. Given that we've provided opportunity before filing a lawsuit, ... that would have been the ample moment for them to put forth any information that they have."

Calls to James Moseley, the CEO of Sun FireDefense, were not immediately returned.

On the Sun FireDefense website, there are several testimonies from people about the product, including one that's attributed to a retired Angeles National Forest Fire Management division chief.

The civil complaint, filed in Santa Barbara County, seeks to stop the company from doing business and to pay $2,500 for each violation that's proven in court.

Santa Barbara County District Attorney Joyce Dudley said she was skeptical when she saw a television commercial for SPF 3000 that described the product as a transparent spray that prevents fire for five years or more.

There are also statements on the Sun FireDefense website that claim the product was created with NASA and the U.S. Forest Service, she said.

SPF 3000 costs approximately $3.50 per square foot, which, depending on the size of the home being treated, can represent a "significant expense compared to other home fire safety improvement projects," Feuer said.

At least 35 people in Los Angeles have purchased the product, the city attorney said.

"The expert who tested found that there was very little difference between the performance of wood that was untreated and the performance of wood that was treated with SPF 3000," Feuer said.

"That nominal difference is not going to be able to protect a home in most cases in the event of a fire."

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