Samsung apologises to Otaki mum after washing machine catches on fire

A Runanga resident had a lucky escape when their washing machine caught fire. Photo / Greymouth Star
A Runanga resident had a lucky escape when their washing machine caught fire. Photo / Greymouth Star

Samsung says it has apologised to and is working with a young Otaki mother who lost a load of baby clothes after her recalled washing machine burst into flames.

The machine was one of about 8000 that hadn't been returned or fixed after a recall was made by Samsung three years ago, the Fire Service said.

Jamie Winiata was thankful the blaze didn't become worse when her faulty top-loader caught fire on Monday, just two days after another machine caught fire in Runanga.

The homeowner was taken to hospital with smoke inhalation and their home smoke and water damaged.

Fires in Auckland, Invercargill, Masterton, Otorohanga and Pukekohe have also been linked to the faulty appliances.

Samsung said the issue with the Runanga customer had been resolved and it was working with Winiata.

"We have apologised to the Otaki customer and are working directly with them to resolve any issues related to the incident. As for all affected customers, we will offer to repair, refund or replace their washing machine," Samsung said.

"Our customers' safety is our top priority and we have taken ongoing proactive steps to encourage customers to check their machines."

Winiata told Fairfax she had just put a load of her daughter's clothes through a washing cycle before preparing tea.

By chance she stepped outside and saw black smoke pouring from the laundry.

Flames were shooting out of the machine so she grabbed a 30-litre bucket filled with rainwater, ran back through the smoke and emptied it over the washing machine.

She was not aware the appliance had been recalled. Samsung said of 36,511 machines affected, more than 88 per cent had been accounted for.

It said it was trying to recover the remaining 3600 or so machines. "In the last 12 months Samsung has undertaken another mail drop targeting over 400,000 homes in specific areas, including the Kapiti region, based on where Samsung believes there may be remaining machines."

Samsung urged people to check their machines and, if they have an affected model, to get in touch to arrange a repair, refund or replacement.

Details on how to do this can be found on Samsung's website, or people could call 0800 855 502 for assistance.

Samsung issued a voluntary recall in May 2013 on four models of its top-loaders.

- NZ Herald

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