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3 On Your Side: Dishwasher Fires

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natasha-brown-web Natasha Brown
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PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Some people are outraged at a major dishwasher manufacturer after reports the appliance can smoke, even catch fire, without warning.
People are reporting it from all over the country, including here.

The McFaddens still remember the day they smelled smoke in the kitchen when they weren’t cooking.

Joe McFadden said, “We went over towards the dishwasher, and I saw wisps of smoke coming out of the top of it from the vents.”

Inside the KitchenAid dishwasher, Joe McFadden found a circuit board scorched. “I realized just how badly it had actually fried,” he said.

Eileen McFadden said, “It could have set my house on fire with my husband, my children, and my pets in it.”

When Joe went online, he found similar photos and similar stories collected on KitchenAidFire.com, more than 300 reports.

One was from Dave Waller: “It was more like a blow torch, a concentrated jet of flame.”

It happened to Maryellen Guditz, too. “I found flames coming out, shooting out from the top of the dishwasher and the side of the dishwasher,” Guditz said.

Robert Battista of Absecon was luckier, just smoke from his circuit board. “One burn here and one burn here,” said Battista, “and it produced a very strong electrical burn odor.”

When Eileen and Joe contacted KitchenAid, the company said there was no safety issue and no recall.

“I don’t know how they’ve gotten away with not having a recall,” Eileen McFadden said.

A lawsuit was filed this month in California accusing KitchenAid’s parent company, Whirlpool, of selling dishwashers with “defective electronic control boards that made them unreasonably dangerous.”

Whirlpool didn’t want to comment on the lawsuit but said in a statement, “We are investigating the reports we have received, and neither Whirlpool nor the safety agencies in the U.S. and Canada have made any determination on this issue.”

Eileen and Joe were able to talk KitchenAid into giving them a new dishwasher, but they had to pay a “participation fee” of $150. Whirlpool said that’s for using the dishwasher for a number of years.

To Eileen, the real insult is what the company has not done.

“I have a new dishwasher, but that doesn’t change the fact that unsafe dishwashers are still out there,” Eileen said.

Also named in the lawsuit is Sears, because consumers have complained about some Kenmore dishwashers. They are also made by Whirlpool. Sears told CBS 3 it does not comment on pending litigation.

Reported by Natasha Brown, CBS 3

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