House fire possibly caused by faulty washing machine

A house was gutted by fire in Manawatu yesterday. Photo / Bradley Ambrose
A house was gutted by fire in Manawatu yesterday. Photo / Bradley Ambrose

A fire that gutted a Manawatu home was possibly caused by a Samsung washing machine with a known electrical fault.

The Valley Rd fire, 25km northeast of Palmerston North, started on Tuesday around 1:30pm.

Fire service Manawatu area manager Mitchell Brown confirmed the fire started from a Samsung washing machine, but couldn't confirm whether it was one of the recalled models.

He said the owner was home when the fire started but couldn't put it out with a hose because the fire damaged his water pump.

"He saw what was happening, and tried to put the fire out but was unsuccessful in his attempts. There was no water coming out of the hose because he'd lost power to the electrical pump that supplies water to the house.

"He said he was just amazed... the speed of the fire that ripped through the house was just incredible."

Mr Brown said there were working smoke alarms installed, but the owner noticed the fire before they were activated.

Samsung has voluntarily recalled more than 36,000 washing machines because of an electrical fault. In some machines, moisture could contact electrical components, causing a spark and possibly a fire. Around 4000 were still unaccounted for.

Samsung conducted letter drops and took out television and other advertising to raise awareness of the product recall.

Mr Brown said it "doesn't sound like" the owner knew there was a recall notice for any Samsung washing machines.

Fires attributed to the machines have happened in Ponsonby, Invercargill, Masterton, Runanga, Otorohonga and Pukekohe, Fairfax reported.

Samsung recommended only using an affected model if someone watched the machine throughout its wash cycle.

The Samsung washing machine models affected:
Top loader washing machines with the following model names (SW75V9WIP / SW65V9WIP / SW80SPWIP / SW70SPWIP ) manufactured in 2010, 2011, 2012 and 2013.

People can find the safety recall instructions at http://www.samsung.com/nz/support/rework/

- NZ Herald

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