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Dishwashers Can Be Unlikely Cause Of House Fires

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

Mary Robb Jackson Mary Robb Jackson
Mary Robb Jackson joined KDKA-TV as a general assignment reporter in...
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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) – The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission estimates that there are about 500 dishwasher fires in the country every year.

It might not seem like a huge number, unless your home goes up as a result of the dishwasher, as the Pearce family’s did.

Last Friday, the Pearce family of Evans City lost their mobile home and everything in it after a fast-moving fire.

It started minutes after Cindy Pearce left to take their daughter Casey to a pediatrician.

They may never know exactly what started the fire.

“I didn’t do laundry, we didn’t cook anything this morning, didn’t have the microwave on,” Pearce said.

But Cindy did remember leaving one appliance on when they left.

“The dishwasher was finishing up the dry cycle when I left, but nothing else was on,” Pearce said.

The family’s dishwasher is almost unrecognizable. The State Police Fire Marshal says everything was incinerated so he can’t come up with an official exact cause, although it appears that the fire began in the kitchen and was centered near the dishwasher.

Ordinarily, insurance investigators would step in to do an extensive forensic analysis on the appliance, but the Pearce family had no insurance.

“It’s not happening very often at all, statistically it’s very minor,” appliance business owner Alan Scheimer said.

Scheimer, whose “Dormont Appliance Store” has been a family business for more than 60 years, says when dishwasher fires do happen, it’s often linked to rinsing products.

“Most of the time, it’s a JetDri clean dispenser that drips inside the door and coats the wires,” he said.

Recently, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of more than 1 million GE dishwashers because the machines’ heating elements were failing and causing fires.

The dishwashers were being sold between March 2006 and April 2009. The models include GE, GE Adora, GE Eterna, GE Profile and Hotpoint.

As with many appliances, it won’t hurt to make sure the dishwasher is off when leaving the house. Or, at the very least, cancel the heat or dry cycle before leaving.

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