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Kenmore Refrigerator / Kenmore Refrigerator causes house fire

1 Hoffman Estates, IL, United States Review updated:
Contact information:

We own a rental property where we had a Kenmore refrigerator, which we purchased from my daughter, in that house, model # [protected], serial # SL1943508. On Dec. 7, 2007 the refrigerator caught fire and caused a house fire. I have a copy of the North Liberty Fire Department report wherein the investigator determined this to be the case.

Our rental property insurance covered most of the loss with the exception of a $500.00 deductible and the cost of the refrigerator itself which was not covered since it was personal property. The fire was a result of defective product and we sent a letter in January requesting that Sears would reimburse us for our $500.00 deductible and provide us with a new replacement refrigerator.

We never received a reply.

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  • Ke
      27th of Dec, 2008
    0 Votes

    We woke this morning at 8am to a smoke filled kitchen and a sharp burning wires/electrical burning smell. It was our 22 cu.ft side by side Kenmore fridge Model # 106.53232300, 22SSA, SR1341088 bought April 2004. It is only 4 years 8 months old! We shut the breaker off to that outlet, unplugged it, opened the windows, turned on fans despite the cold of the Dec.27th/08 day; the compressor was very hot my husband noticed. I called Sears after checking my manual which says the fridge has a 1-year full warranty, and a five year full warranty on "sealed refrigeration system" which is further explained as, "consisting of refrigeration, connecting tubing, and compressor). The woman at Sears crisply told me that the fridge is only under warranty for a year. I asked to speak to the store owner, who has always been so good to deal with, but was told he was away for a week. She implied he could not help me further, and I said, "Well, I would at least like him to check to see if there have been any other problems with this make &model." She said, and I quote, "We have never had any problems with any refrigerator that we have sold." I told her what my manual says about the 5 year warranty and she then said I could calls "parts and service" but if it is not the compressor, then we would be charged". I had a strong internal reaction to this, which could be summed up by saying "the service sucks & I don't trust you". To pay $1298.21 (includes tax) for a new fridge that is only 4 yrs old, and to wake to your home filledwith smoke originating from the fridge, deserves more than a crisp, "the fridge has a 1-year warranty". What if we hadn't been home? Our pets surely would have died, not to mention the loss of our home as my husband is sure that a fire would have resulted. He heard electrical "zzzzttt-zzzzzzzt" sparking noices which stopped when he cut power to the fridge. He could see the smoke hanging in the air under the lights when he awoke. He woke before me.
    After the Sears woman's response, I believed that even if I called Parts & Service that undoubtedly, the problem would "not be the compresser", and that I would be throwing good money after bad.
    I told my husband I was through with Sears and that even if they would repair the fridge, I would not trust it. He said he wouldn't feel safe with it either. We bought a new fridge today actually, but not from Sears, and not a Kenmore. And we will never buy from Sears or Kenmore again based on this experience (ie. the Sears woman's response to our problem of the 4 yr old smoking fridge that we believe could have burned our house down.)
    I expect that a new appliance will work 12-22 yrs. Otherwise, why make it? Why waste our resources or money? If the fridges of my youth lasted 25 yrs, surely a brand new fridge bought in 2004 and properly maintained/cleaned would last longer than 4 yrs 8 months! I would be ashamed to sell a fridge that almost burnt someone's house down! I know our world is changing, but I still believe in honesty, quality, and service. That is why I am making this post.

  • Da
      10th of Jan, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Our son came into our bedroom at 1:00 am saying he smelled smoke. When we investigated, we saw smoke coming out from behind the fridge and the smell was BAD. We pulled it out, unplugged it and took off the little cardoard backing. I then plugged it in and the little plastic relays (or whatever they are called) going into the compressor sparked and grew hot IMMEDIATELY!! I didn't see any dirt, water, etc - it was simply melting the plastic directly at the compressor.It looked like the insulation was scorched (or maybe black from smoke at this point). I am convinced it would have burned our house down (especially with Cardboard backing!!!)

    Now I don't care about a service call, soemthing "going" etc., (even though yet agian we see how cheap "new" things are compared to years ago!), but this is a safety issue and Sears should respond/take responsibility!

    When I "googled" this issue, this site came up and it sure doesn't look lie they have. Well, I'll take my "shot" and I can be quite persuasive (can someone say class-action lawsuit?) ...

    Dan & Melissa
    Sebring Florida
    (bought at Sebring Sears)
    SOMETHING needs to be done!

    #106.5323 4300
    Kenmore Coldspot Side-by-side
    Model built 4/20

  • So
      26th of Jan, 2009
    0 Votes

    Same thing happened to me. I woke up at 5am to smoke and a very BAD burning smell. My husband and I searched around the house to see what was burning. We called 911 and the fire fighters came and it is not until they turned the circuit breaker for the Kitchen off and on that they noticed a clicking sound from o ur Kenmore side by side refridgerator.

    This product definetly has issues. Thanks to Dan from the previous posting he gave us a tip on how to deal with the issue.

    Sophie Lancaster

  • Ro
      10th of Feb, 2009
    0 Votes

    Correction of Model number

    We have a Kenmore side-by-side fridge ( 596.52673201) that also just had an incident with a burning electrical type odor along with clicking noises. The burning odor has not returned but the clicking noise is still present. As far as i can tell, the fridge is still cooling properly.

    Rod Simmons
    334- 270-1437

  • Co
      7th of Apr, 2009
    +1 Votes

    Our Kenmore Coldspot, purchased in 2002, is now making loud clunking noises that seem to be compressor-related. These short-term warranties are a total ripoff; I grew up in a house that had ONE refrig that lasted about 30 years!!

    People need to be more AGGRESSIVE with Sears or any other company, if you want satisfaction. To call and seek help and accept "It's no longer on warranty" from the person who answers the phone is not going to accomplish what you want. You need to insist on speaking with the manager and bring up the fact that SEARS "guarantees satisfaction, " and use a little more persuasive power than just accepting the first "NO" you receive and going out and buying new equipment, then posting an angry response on some online forum. If more people would DEMAND better service & products, we all would benefit. Don't be docile; it's YOUR money & safety at stake!

    Just a thought. Good luck to all...

  • Dl
      10th of Apr, 2009
    0 Votes

    I woke up to the same burning smell as reported above. With the zzzzzzt zzzzzzt noises as well. My house was full of smoke. All I could do was shut the breaker off and unplug my refrigerator (Kenmore 106.53232300) We bougt it 5 yrs and 4 days ago an it is well taken care of and in perfect condition. I am getting no where with Sears/Kenmore. I am filing a safty report. This is out of control. I found this web site and this product obviously has a problem!! There is still no saftey recall!! My kids were sleeping in the living room right next to the kitchen and they could have been injured or killed!! I will not stand by and allow this company to put families in danger and do nothing to warn them. Anyone want to join me in this please. If we get togther maybe we will be heard!!

  • Bs
      8th of May, 2009
    +1 Votes

    We have a Kenmore Coldspot #106.53544300 and had a very similar thing happen last Saturday. The fridge is not quite 6 years old and the same thing happened to our next-door neighbors at around the 6 year mark last November.
    Forget the inconvenience of having to evacuate and spend 2 nights with my in-laws (we have a 4-month old baby and didn't want her exposed to the toxic fumes); forget that we had to transfer everything to our back-up fridge in the garage (luckily donated to us only a few months ago); forget having to buy bottles of water in lieu of the water dispenser while waiting for repairs; this thing could have burnt our house down if I weren't at home: a story that seems to repeat itself through most of the comments I have read so far.
    Let's band together and make Sears, or Whirlpool, or whoever is responsible, accountable.

  • Jj
      5th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Same thing just happened to our Kenmore side-by-side, model 106.53232300 ser: sr0646552, - arrived home to a smoke filled kitchen with strong smell of burnt wires - luckily I isolated the source and pulled out the fridge and removed back panel to find sparks and smoke coming from the relay switch beside compressor. Lack of support from Kenmore not a surprise - got the usual out of warranty runaround - couldn't be bothered to escalate just bought replacement switch and wiring harness and will do a DIY repair - still the out of pocket expense was around $120 for parts. Was quoted $350 for a repairman to make a house call - at this price tag I would have opted to toss the fridge and buy a better brand! Live and learn.

  • Am
      24th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    We just had our Kenmore side by side catch fire this week. (2006 model) Smelled awful and filled kitchen with smoke. It was the relay compressor but that melted to the compressor and now we are looking at having to replace both Sears quoted 730$!! Trying to work with customer service they offered us 100 off parts and 150 off labor. BOO!!! I am looking for total replacement, or new fridge. :( GRRR Fire is unacceptable!

  • Je
      27th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I just went into the kitchen, smelled something like burning plastic, and narrowed it down to the fridge, a Kenmore side by side, model no. 106.56249400, serial no. SR1546500, manufactured 2004/04. There was a haze near the ceiling - not sure exactly what that was. I pulled the fridge out and unplugged it, opened the windows and eventually aired the smell out. I had just been about to go to bed when this happened - what if it had started after I did? I have a small pet that would have been killed by the fumes, and since I'm in an apartment, this could have been a major fire.

    I'm leaving it unplugged and calling out a good repairman - not one from Sears (I tried Sears for a minor repair once, and they knew less than I did) - to look at it tomorrow. I think I'll just end up buying a new one, but maybe he'll be able to tell us who can haul this piece of junk away. From what I'm reading online, a lot of refrigerators do this. It's terrifying.

    Not only am I never buying Kenmore again, I'm never buying anything from Sears again, and I'll be sure to share this with everyone I know. It's bad enough refrigerators are designed to fail after a few years so you'll have to do your part to keep greedy immoral people in yachts and summer homes, but to fail in a way that endangers lives and property? I have no words.

  • Am
      27th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    We must report these!!! Please report these incidents!!!

    CPSC and Maytag have recalled fridges for the exact same reason of compressor relay fires!

    Kenmore/SEARS need to be held accountable ((Kenmore is Sears brand))

    PLEASE report these fires to SEARS, make them document a safety hazzard complaint.

    PLEASE file an online report with Consumer Product Safety Commission!! It takes 5 min.

    Household appliances should NOT catch FIRE!! It is a huge safety and liability!

    Thank you! :)

  • Bs
      27th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    I posted 49 days ago about this and was given the same 'generous' offer by Sears of up to $150 for labor and up to $100 for the part. The 15 minute repair job by Sears chosen service company cost $296, with $220 going to the labor. That's $880/hr! Afterwards, I called around and got various quotes from other refrigerator repair companies: as little as $33 for the part (with an average of around $45), and quotes of $179+ tax for parts and labor, and even $95+ tax for parts and labor. Nice work Sears.
    Anyway, after more e-mails and many calls we managed to get Sears to pay for the entire bill. The squeaky wheel gets the oil. But I suspect this won't be the end of it. With all of the complaints just on this site alone, a recall must surely be not far off. If Sears gets their relay switches from the same place Maytag do, then it's time they bite the bullet.

  • Am
      28th of Jun, 2009
    0 Votes

    Great job Bshadlow! So far I have been offered a 500$ voucher toward a new fridge...our compressor relay and compressor burned. $730 bucks to repair but I do not want another potential fire hazzard!

    Bshadlow, please also log on to the CPSC site and complete the complaint form, only takes a few minutes and THAT will be why Sears does a recall. Complaints to Sears alone will not do it, complaints to a governing agency will make it happen.

    thank you so much!

  • Lo
      3rd of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    Wow! This is amazing! Same thing happened to us yesterday. Kenmore side by side purchased approximately 6 years ago. Can't tell you the model number, as we kicked the piece of [censored] to the curb, and somebody actually took it. At around 10 am yesterday smelled strong odor of burning rubber and discovered smoke in the kitchen. Threw breaker, and tried to find cause of smoke...same complaint as everyone else...capacitor or whatever module it is that is connected to the condenser was fried. We were not taking any chances fixing something that already had an electrical problem, and purchased a new Samsung. After reading all these accounts, I know I will NEVER purchase ANYTHING from SEARS EVER again. They should be ashamed of themselves. Thank God we were home at the time. We just returned the day before from a three day vacation, and our dogs were penned up in the kitchen while we were gone, if it had happened even one day earlier, they and the house would have been gone.

  • Br
      7th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    My home also burned down due to a Kenmore Refrigerator I lost my dog, the possesions can be replaced. It is amazing these companies get away with this stuff. Brett (863)859-3236

  • De
      18th of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    First let me say to Brett I am sorry for your loss and I am shocked by so many of these close call fire stories. I'm another person with a Kenmore Whirlpool (Model # 5959993) purchased in 2001 with a bad relay which we replaced with a genuine Whirlpool relay part. We have been having continuing problems with the unit being hot and now reading these stories will replace this refrigerator as soon as the budget allows. No more Kenmore for us! Ever! I'm certain they are aware this part is defective as they provide a box and postage to return the failed relay in so they can inspect it. Obviously after they inspect it they do nothing to protect their customers! They can be counted on to still pester us with postcards to purchase new water filters for the unit! I'm heading over to next! Thanks everyone for sharing your stories.

  • Bs
      31st of Jul, 2009
    0 Votes

    I haven't received my phone call yet. If they are recalling the fridge, I hope they notify all of us ASAP.

  • Sp
      13th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    I woke up this morning to a kitchen filled with smoke. My Kenmore Coldspot 106.51272201 was burning. I found the problem, the relay device on the compressor melted and was burning. The compressor is destroyed along with the relay box.

    I called Kenmore and they said that I was welcome to pay full price for all the repairs. Nice! It could have caught the house on fire and killed us in our sleep if it had happened in the middle of the night.

    I believe Kenmore knows about this flaw but chooses to ignore it. I am considering a lawsuit to force them into action. Somebody is going to get killed from this defective product if they haven't already.

  • Am
      13th of Aug, 2009
    0 Votes

    I still cannot believe Sears lack of resolution towards this serious issue!!! I ended up getting a 500$ voucher (to be spent at Sears of course) but after 4+ weeks with no fridge (ok, I do have a small one in the garage) and with three kids...they wore me down. I was going for a voucher that was equal to the cost of repairs (750!). Good luck SpeedSix, please keep us informed!

    Don't forget to report to the Consumer Product Safety Commission (links are posted in my previous posts above).

  • Gr
      14th of Sep, 2009
    0 Votes

    I have the same story... I have a Kenmore side-by-side Model Number 106.53232300. It is about 5 1/2 years old. It started with the fizzing and crackling sound, then the next thing I knew there was smoke filling the room. Fortunately, I had decided at the last minute not to go shopping, or else the fridge would have caught on fire while my dog was home alone. Not knowing what caused the problem, I called an electrician. $99 later I found out that the fridge was the problem. After some internet searching I found this page, as well as several others, littered with complaints about this refrigerator. And to think, I bought it only after much product research which all touted this fridge as excellent. I'm interested to hear more about the recall - I haven't heard anything yet from Sears and I can't find anything online about a product recall.

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