My husband and I purchased a Kenmore Elite Trio refrigerator in May of 2006. On Friday morning, August 29, 2008, I opened the refrigerator door and smelled something burning. When I touched a Mason jar containing tomato juice on the top shelf, the jar was extremely hot. A bowl next to it was likewise extremely hot, so much so that I couldn’t pick it up without using a potholder. In investigating further, I noticed that the light fixture cover was warped and the light fixture itself was burnt and scorched. I held in both of the door closure buttons and the lights would not go out. Concerned that the heat from the two 60-watt bulbs could cause a fire, I tried to remove the bulbs using a potholder to keep from getting burned. I was able to remove one of the bulbs but could only partially unscrew the second one due to expansion of the light socket caused by the extreme heat. We had to wait for the unit to cool down before the second bulb could be removed.
A month or so prior to this incident, my husband said the top of the freezer door was hot and questioned what may have been causing that. Apparently the lights in the freezer were staying on as well. Although we have had no further problems with the lights in the freezer, it is conceivable that it was caused by the same faulty components that are causing the hazardous condition with the lights in the refrigerator.
I contacted Sears and was told they are not aware of any problems with the lights in these refrigerators. I find that hard to believe since there are a multitude of postings on the internet regarding the lights in this refrigerator and numerous complaints have been filed with the Consumer Products Safety Commission. Sears’ suggested plan of action is to have a technician come out and apprise the situation, but I will be required to pay for the service call, which, I am told will be refunded up to $150.00. If Sears can refund the cost of a service call, then I am certain they can have a technician assess the damage without my having to pay up front. I fully intend to pursue this with a vehemence because someone’s home is going to burn down if something isn’t done about the defect in these refrigerators.