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East Sussex Fire & Rescue Service logo
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Fire caused by an electrical fault within the control panel of a dishwasher

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Fire damage to the control panel

Fire damage to the control panel

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Fire damage to the control panel
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A typical product identification marking showing the model and serial number

A typical product identification marking showing the model and serial number

How this fire happened

The homeowner placed the dishwasher on just before going to bed. This was part of the night time routine the homeowner followed most nights.

The homeowner was unaware that their dishwasher had been identified as faulty and was part of a product recall by the manufacturers; as an electrical component on a limited number of these dishwashers was found to overheat, which in some cases could cause a fire.

On this occasion, the dishwasher did overheat and a small fire started causing the kitchen and the rest of the house to fill with toxic black smoke. Fortunately the property was fitted with well sited working smoke alarms which quickly alerted the sleeping occupants. Had this not been the case, the outcome could have been very different.

The effect it had

I had put the dishwasher on as normal before I went to bed at about 10.30pm. At about 12.15am I was woken up by my smoke alarm going off.

I switched on the light to find the house was full of black smoke, I woke up my daughter and told her to get up.

We went downstairs to find the front of the dishwasher was alight from the control panel.

I grabbed a tea towel, wetted it and laid it over the area of the fire which seemed to extinguish it.

We left the house and phoned for the Fire and Rescue Service who arrived very quickly with paramedics who treated me for a burn on my forearm and checked us both over.

I felt we were extremely lucky that we had been woken by the smoke alarms and I’m very glad that I had them fitted.

Safety message

Fire & Rescue Services are aware of the potential dangers caused by householders continuing to use faulty products that have been subject to a manufacturers recall – especially where the identified fault can lead to fire. 

  • Always ensure your property has working smoke alarms as they will give you an early indication that there is a fire giving you precious additional seconds to get to safety.
  • It is also essential to discuss an escape plan with your family so that everyone knows what is expected of them should the worst happen.
  • It is also recommended (particularly if using electrical appliances at night when asleep so as to take advantage of off peak electricity rates) that suitable detection and warning is located in close proximity to the appliances being used.
  • After purchasing an appliance it is recommended that you register it with the manufacturer so that they can contact you in the event of a recall notice. 

Never tackle a fire yourself; get everyone out of the property and stay out, call the Fire and Rescue Service when you are safely outside. If possible close doors as you leave, this will help to contain the fire to its room of origin.  

For further advice on electrical safety, visit the Electrical Safety First's website. 

Further information

Finding Recalled Products

Make yourself aware of products that may have been recalled by using these product recall search engines to which we provide links.

The three search engines are from :
  • the Electrical Safety First,   
  • RAPEX (the EU rapid alert system for all dangerous consumer products)
  • Trading Standards Institute
  • United Kingdom Association of Fire Investigators product recall search facility

These search tools also give advice on what to do if your product has been recalled.

Do you have a similar story?

Finally, we would be interested to hear from you if you have had a similar experience to the fire detailed above, or would like to raise any related matters or even just generally comment on how useful you found our Black Museum.

Please send us your details and a comments via our on-line feedback form.



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Latest Update :
23 September 2020
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