Is your dishwasher a safety risk?

You may have a fire danger in your kitchen, and it's from an appliance you might least suspect -- because it's usually filled with water.

The ABC15 Investigators have found certain dishwashers are catching fire in the Valley and across the nation.

There are complaints about various brands, and the government knows about it.

SEARCH COMPLAINTS, GET LATEST RECALLS, SEE STORIES FROM CONSUMERS

But so far, some owners of the malfunctioning appliances say there hasn't been enough done to stop the potential danger.

A VALLEY WOMAN'S SCARE

It was a peaceful Sunday morning at Melody's Valley home.

Melody says she was reading the paper while her dishwasher was running, when suddenly, flames more than a foot high started coming out of both sides.

Melody and her husband were able to contain the fire before it did any other damage.

But, the ABC15 Investigators found many other complaints about dishwashers catching fire, doing more damage, and in one case, possibly causing a death.

GOVERNMENT RECORDS

During a six-month period in 2011,  the Consumer Product Safety Commission logged more than 260 dishwasher incidents on its public website, SaferProducts.gov .

More than half of the complaints involved smoke or flames.

Those are the complaints you can see publicly, but the ABC15 Investigators asked for the records you can't see.

They show that the CPSC logged more than 1,600 dishwasher complaints in the last five years.

Eighty percent of the time, consumers reported fire.

CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT POSSIBLE

Fire investigation reports don't zero in on a cause or a particular brand, but dishwashers made by Whirlpool make up about half of the complaints on SaferProducts.gov .

Attorney Charles Fax is filing a class action lawsuit against Whirlpool, which also makes Maytag, Sears, Kenmore and KitchenAid brands.

Fax's clients not only want compensation, they want a recall because of what they consider a product flaw.

Fax says there's a design defect in the control panel which causes the wires inside to overheat and eventually burn.

CPSC INVESTIGATES

Melody says her Kitchenaid dishwasher fire also started in the control panel.

She says Whirlpool would only offer her a small amount off another KitchenAid dishwasher, so she wrote the CPSC, and got a response.

Melody says a representative came to her house, interviewed her about the fire, and took the control panel.

But, she says, that was it. The CPSC has taken no action involving her case so far.

Consumers have reported fire and smoke in other brands, including General Electric and Frigidaire.

While neither company has as many complaints listed on SaferProducts.gov as Whirlpool, fire investigators believe a fire "in or near" a Frigidaire dishwasher caused the death of an Oregon woman. 

At time of publication, Frigidaire had not responded to our request for a comment

The CPSC won't tell us which brands are mentioned in each reported dishwasher case until it gets permission from the companies involved.

We've been waiting six weeks and still no word.

READ STATEMENTS FROM CPSC AND DISHWASHER MANUFACTURERS

Let me know if you've had a dishwasher fire or any other appliance problem by emailing me or by going to my ABC15 Facebook page .

Check out even more resources on our Dishwasher Dangers page .

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