Broadview Heights man reports his dishwasher caught fire

CPSC investigating complaints

CLEVELAND - One by one, consumers across the country are realizing their dishwasher is not the only one releasing smoke or flames.

Mike Marhefka said his caught fire just two weeks ago in Broadview Heights.

"Quite frankly, before we saw your report coming out, I was going to write it off," Marhefka said.

Another homeonwer in Lakewood who spoke with 5 On Your Side for our original story thought she was just unlucky too.

[ Click here for a map of incidents by state and to search our database of dishwasher incidents http:// 5.wews.com/Esx ]

Our three-month nationwide investigation found consumers in almost every state reporting problems with their dishwasher.

"She heard crackling and a pop," Marhefka said, describing what his wife heard after starting the dishwasher. "She saw flames coming out of the door vents and the handle area."

The smoke and flames continued as Marhefka made his way to the kitchen.

"At that point in time, it was, what do I do now? I can't just throw this thing outside. I grabbed a screwdriver and pried off the door panel, control panel, and got a fire extinguisher and put it out right away," Marhefka said.

Consumer Product Safety Commission investigating

Our investigation uncovered that the CPSC knows of more than 1,600 dishwasher incidents over the last five years. Eighty-percent of the time, a fire was reported.

The CPSC won't tell us which brands are affected until the companies agree to release the information. We've been waiting six weeks. But, our analysis of public data on SaferProducts.gov revealed Whirlpool brand dishwashers make up about half the unverified consumer complaints.

"The biggest thing is the lack of follow-through on the companies that are manufacturing these things," Marhefka said.

Whirlpool says if the control board overheats, there's a component in the dishwasher that will turn off power to the board.

Marhefka showed us his melted control board and charred components.

"I'd like to see a recall to save other potential situations," Marhefka said.

The CPSC is investigating, but adds that most of the incidents it knows about were contained inside the dishwasher where the lack of oxygen prevented a larger problem.

Marhefka believes being home and having a fire extinguisher handy is the real reason he didn't have a larger disaster.

Let me know if you've had a problem with a dishwasher as our investigation continues. You can reach me on Facebook and Twitter .

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