News4Jax investigates: Exploding washing machine

Jacksonville family wants to warn others

By Nikki Kimbleton - The Morning Show anchor, Jodi Mohrmann - Managing Editor of special projects

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. - A family on the Westside wants to make sure what happened to them doesn't happen to anyone else. Becky Edwards was playing outside with her kids while her husband was on the roof taking down Christmas lights.

"And we just heard this boom. It sounded like a cannon went off, louder than a gun shot," Edwards explained.

The mother of five says while in the middle of a load of bed sheets, her washing machine did something she never imagined.

"I would have never in my life expected a washing machine to explode," said Edwards. "I have the child safety locks on all of my doors, and I'm diligent about checking car seats, kids toys, everything. This is not something I would have thought about looking into."

Edwards shared pictures she took when the incident happened and showed News4Jax the damage inside her home. She showed us how the top had literally blown off.

"It was and the hoses were the only thing holding it together and the water hoses were spraying everywhere," she said. "It was totally sideways in the washing room."

Edwards say the force when it came apart shook the whole house. Pictures and more were knocked off of the walls all around.

"We have floating shelves in the bathroom with a conch shell on it and it knocked that off of the shelf and landed in the tub and put a chip in it the size of a silver dollar," she showed News4Jax.

When the shock wore off, Edwards says she started making calls to the manufacturer, and she decided to do a quick Google search, too, to see if this had happened to anyone else.

"I finally got a hold of Samsung at 10 o'clock the night it happened and I told them I saw that this has happened before and they didn't argue with me about that," said Edwards.

That Google search revealed other stories just like hers. One similar example was from Micah Martin.

"I wanted to make a video of what happened to our brand new Samsung top loading machine," Martin said in a YouTube video he gave News4Jax permission to use.

His family was washing the exact same thing as Edwards: top and bottom sheets with pillow cases.

"We heard something that sounded like the roof was caving in and came up to find the top part completely blown off," Martin said.   

The damage looks eerily similar to Edwards' model and both were purchased around the same time, April 2015. Edwards' model number is WA48H7400AW.

When News4Jax started digging, page after page of customer complaints could be found to the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  A search revealed dozens of stories and pictures of top loading Samsung machines that had self-destructed. However, News4Jax could find no voluntary or mandatory recall for these machines here in the United States.

That's not the case in Australia, however. They recently re-issued a recall for six different top loading Samsung models after the same type of exploding incidents were reported there. Of those, more than 30 of led to fires with severe damage.

But, Samsung is responding to consumers. Edwards is getting the same offer Micah Martin and others say they received months ago.

"They offered to refund the washer and dryer and they said they would fix the repairs. We just had to let them know how much," Edwards said.

But she says that's not enough. She wants to know what Samsung is doing to prevent this from happening to someone else.

"That's one of the things I asked the executive yesterday," said Edwards. "'You obviously know this is a problem but you choose to have these out there. What is it going to take to get these off of the market someone to get seriously hurt because so far sounds like they've been lucky?'"

News4Jax contacted Samsung and Andrew Bowins, Vice President, Corporate Reputation Samsung North America, provided the following statement:

"The reported incidents are extremely rare. That said, Samsung takes any instance seriously and works very closely with affected customers to investigate the unique circumstances that may have led to the exceptionally rare occurrence. In each unique case, we provide our customers with a new washer or refund and cover any expenses related to the incident. It is important to note that Samsung customers have completed hundreds of millions of loads without incident since we entered the category in 2011."

If you have any issues with your washer or another appliance, you can report it to the Consumer Product Safety Commission. You'll find a direct link here.

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