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Firebox in Sears Kenmore grills disintegrating and rusting, Sears now making changes

Posted at 4:33 PM, Nov 13, 2014
and last updated 2014-11-15 00:42:58-05

Grillers across the county are worried a safety hazard on the grill may cause it to explode.

Joy Rosenberg is stuck in the kitchen heating up dinner inside rather than cooking outside.

"We grill steak, and we grill chicken," she said.

Rosenberg bought a Sears Kenmore grill thinking it was a brand that would last.

"It's 16 months old and it looks brand new. We clean it every time we use it," explained Rosenberg.

How it looks on the inside has her scared.

"If you look underneath you can see the ashes from where the burner box disintegrated and you can see now the tank is exposed to the burners right above it making it a fire hazard," said Rosenberg.

The steel that protects the flames from the propane tank (firebox) is gone on one side and badly rusted on the other.

"To buy a grill for that much money and expect it to disintegrate after a year's use is totally unacceptable," explained Rosenberg.

Rosenberg complained to the Consumer Product Safety Commission , but her complaint was never made public. The government didn't feel it was a safety hazard even though another Kenmore complaint about rust was publicly posted.

"It's definitely a safety hazard," explained Rosenberg.

And while the government's site doesn't list the complaints, does, with pictures from rusted grills across the country.

"The fire is exposed to the propane tank which could cause an explosion," explained Rosenberg.

"Do you think this product should be recalled for safety reasons?" Scripps station WPTV reporter Jenn Strathman questioned.

"Absolutely there is no way we are going to use this grill anymore," Rosenberg said.

Rosenberg tried to buy a replacement part, but Sears told her it would cost $349. That's more than a new grill.

"For Sears not to stand behind it is even more unbelievable," explained Rosenberg.

After our calls to Sears, the company agreed to replace the problem part for free for Rosenberg and customers across the country.

Sears admits the firebox is rusting prematurely, and it's even changing the materials so the box that protects the flames from the propane tank will last longer.

"We are aware that a limited number of Kenmore grills have firebox trays that are rusting prematurely. Most importantly, we are taking care of these customers at no cost. Customers who are experiencing this issue with their Kenmore grill should call 1-800-4-MYHOME  / (800) 469- 4663 to request a complete firebox tray replacement. Both the firebox tray kit and installation will be provided at no charge to the customer. In addition, to address this issue, the Kenmore brand is improving the materials that comprise the firebox tray - so it will be manufactured from aluminized steel (rather than galvanized steel) for longer life."
--Larry Costello
for Sears