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Dishwasher fires ignite safety concerns

A household appliance designed to make kitchen chores a little easier has been causing serious problems across the country. Recent reports of charred kitchens, fires and completely destroyed houses have been filed in many states. Florida residents may want to be aware of the dangerous product, as the appliance is very likely in most homes.

The culprit of these accidents is the dishwasher. Over 260 complaints were filed last year relating to fires caused by a dishwasher on a Consumer Product Safety Commission website. For some, the damage is minor and caught quickly. However, in other cases, the fire ended up devouring a house and causing serious damage.

The destruction that can result from these types of fires can be horrible. It believed that the fires are caused by the faulty dishwashers, since that is where initial damage is typically seen. However, investigators are careful to officially name a cause. Those who have experienced the fires, though, know that they started in the dishwasher.

Despite the amount of complaints, the CPSC has not released information that specifically names the brands that are most likely to cause such an accident. According to reports, until permission is granted by the dishwasher companies involved, no such information will be released.

However, a lawsuit was just filed against Whirlpool, the maker of KitchenAid appliances, for damages. The suit also requests that the company recall their products that pose a danger to consumers. While this company received a high number of complaints, other brands were mentioned as well.

If a product is found to be unsafe, it should be responsibly removed from the market. Especially in a case when an appliance is commonly found in homes, consumers need to be protected. While many complaints about dishwasher fires have included minor property damage, there have also been others who have lost their entire house in the accident. In one case, a person was killed as a result of these fires. Consumers should have the reasonable expectation that household appliances are safe. If they are not safe and cause damage or injury, a company should be held liable for that.

Source: ABC2, "Dishwasher Dangers: The ABC2/Scripps Investigation," Joce Sterman, Feb. 6, 2012

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