I just received this email from a friend in the USA so I thought I'll share it with anyone who uses this type of bulbs.
Below is a picture of a CFL light bulb from my bathroom. I turned it on the other day and then smelled smoke after a few minutes. Four inch flames were spewing out of the side of the ballast like a blow torch!
I immediately turned off the lights. But I’m sure it would have caused a fire if I was not right there. Imagine if the kids had left the lights on as usual when they were not in the room.
I took the bulb to the Fire Department today to report the incident. The Fireman wasn’t at all surprised and said that it was not an uncommon occurrence. Apparently, sometimes when the bulb burns out there is a chance that the ballast can start a fire. He told me that the Fire Marshall had issued reports about the dangers of these bulbs.
Upon doing some Internet research, it seems that bulbs made by “Globe” in China seem to have the lion’s share of problems. Lots of fires have been blamed on misuse of CFL bulbs, like using them in recessed lighting, pot lights, dimmers or in track lighting. Mine was not in any of those. It was a normal light socket. I bought these at Wal-Mart. I will be removing all the Globe bulbs from my house. I have not decided yet if we are going back to incandescent bulbs at this point.
Just thought you should know.