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Consumer Reports Investigates Reports Of Self-Starting Microwaves

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(Photo Credit: KDKA)

(Photo Credit: KDKA)

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PITTSBURGH (KDKA) — There’s a warning from Consumer Reports about microwave ovens that the magazine’s experts believe can turn on by themselves and start fires.

Consumer Reports discovered two incidents – one in Seattle where a microwave sparked electrical arcing in a condominium, and another in Florida where a microwave not in use may have started a fire that destroyed a home.

In both cases Consumer Reports says the same model microwave, the KitchenAid KHMS-155-LSS, was in use.

After learning of the incidents, Consumer Reports used Freedom of Information requests to obtain thousands of pages of Consumer Product Safety Commission documents on appliance fires.

“Forty-one of the CPSC reports involved KitchenAid microwaves that turned on by themselves, some causing fires,” said Consumer Reports’ Dan DiClerico.

Consumer Reports also examined 82 similar reports involving some GE microwaves, six of which involved serious fires.

“The reports listed various models, but 30 complaints involved the GE Spacemaker line of over-the-range microwave,” said DiClerico.

None of the microwaves have been recalled and the problem isn’t limited to just these two manufacturers.

The CPSC told Consumer Reports it has “an open investigation into the safety of kitchen appliances, including microwaves.”

Whirlpool, which owns Kitchen Aid, says it has not been able to verify a single report of a self-starting microwave.

GE told Consumer Reports that it “has investigated unverified reports of ‘self-start’ and found them to constitute product quality– not product safety– concerns.

Consumer Reports says if you have problems with your microwave, unplug it immediately, get a technician to look at it and report the problem to the manufacturer and to SaferProducts.gov.

And, it’s a good idea to know which circuit breaker turns off the microwave in case of an emergency.

For a link to the entire Consumer Reports article on microwave fires, go to: http:www.ConsumerReports.org/cro/fire0313

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