Talk about shocking. Ken Yager, a former Manitou Springs deputy fire chief knows all too well the damage an electrical fire can cause.
He couldn't believe it when his nephew called and told him his 7-year-old Whirlpool refrigerator started smoking and sparking... and then actually caught on fire. Thankfully the fire never spread and no one was hurt.
Ken says, "It's scary. It's scary to think he could have not woke up and it could've went ahead and burst into flames."
Ken says he was surprised to learn his Whirlpool top-freezer refrigerator had not been recalled, but a similar model made by sister company Maytag had been... for what seemed to be the same problem.
In fact, Consumer Reports says 1.6 million defective refrigerators were recalled because of an electrical failure. A relay in the back of the unit can reportedly get too hot and catch on fire.
Ken had a certified repairman look at his refrigerator and says he was told his relay was defective and was indeed the cause of the fire.
He called Whirlpool and the Consumer Product Safety Commission to report what had happened... hoping a warning would be issued for his refrigerator.
Ken says he was surprised how Whirlpool responded.... knowing it's one of the largest makers of appliances in the U.S.
Ken says, "It was like she just didn't care. I asked her, I said what if the house had caught on fire or my nephew had died in the fire and she said... well, then we would've taken responsibility for it. I thought this could happen to somebody else, so I thought I'll call you guys."
Our Call For Action volunteer Rhonda got involved and soon Ken received a call from another Whirlpool rep.
Some 22 days later his old refrigerator was hauled away and Whirlpool delivered a new one. This model is larger and has no history of trouble.
Ken adds, "I want the public to be aware that there's a problem out there with Whirlpool."
Ken did the right thing by reporting the fire to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. It can take action.
When I asked Whirlpool if it had received similar complaints on the top-freezer refrigerator... I was told no further information could be shared at this time.
The best advice before you buy a major appliance like a refrigerator... check its record. Consumer Reports found the Maytag was among the most repair-prone brands out there. We'll keep you posted.