Recalled dishwasher blamed for fire

Published 9:58 pm Wednesday, December 9, 2009

A dishwasher that was on a recall list is now being blamed for a November house fire on Nansemond Point Drive.

The fire marshal’s office determined the Nov. 23 fire started near the dishwasher, and pinpointed the dishwasher as the most likely cause, city spokeswoman Debbie George said. The GE Profile dishwasher was found on a list of appliances recalled in 2007.

“We would want homeowners to check the list,” George said. “There’s quite a range of makes and models on that list that are specifically listed as a fire hazard.”

A recall notice on the GE appliance Web site states the dishwasher were recalled because normal use of liquid rinse aid in some models for several years can result in a concentration of rinse aid on the wires inside the dishwasher door. The buildup can degrade the insulation on the wiring, which can cause an electrical short, overheating or fire if the wire comes into contact with the metal door.

“The fire marshal’s office recommends that appliances not be run while you’re not home to monitor them,” George said. “If there’s an issue with them, you’re not there to immediately notice it, as was the case in this house. Fortunately, a neighbor noticed it and called 911, or there would have been more damage.”

The damage to the Nansemond Point Drive home was estimated at $50,000, George said. A firefighter, who responded to the blaze, was treated for heat exhaustion after the fire. GE has received 135 reports of overheated wiring and 56 reports of property damage, including 12 reports of fires that went outside the dishwasher, from the recall.

The recall notice recommends having the dishwasher repaired or replaced if liquid rinse aid has ever been used in the dishwasher, or if the owner is unsure if liquid rinse aid has been used.

For more information on product recalls, visit www.recalls.gov or www.cpsc.gov. For more information on GE recalls, call 1-877-607-6395.