Sunday, November 17, 2013

15 million recalled, but ours wasn’t one

I woke up to the smell of an electrical fire. You know that burning acidic plastic smell? If you don’t, it’s a smell that you can’t easily forget. It was about 3 in the morning and it was strong . I had to first figure out if I was dreaming or awake. Unfortunately, I was awake and then really awake.

We had recently replaced outlets in the kitchen so I immediately thought I knew the source. I woke up Michael and that was his thought, too. We were wrong, and a little groggy, and concerned. He decided to check out the attic and crawl space while I went around touching around each outlet and petting the walls to feel for heat.

We quickly narrowed the smell to one room, but couldn’t figure it out. We started to unplug everything. Moved furniture to unplug the television components and were overwhelmed by the fumes. Our surge protector was melting (albeit slowly). We took it apart and the battery was fine, but the rest was self-destructing and it smelled horrible. We moved it outside to the driveway so that it could melt outside or at least cool off.

We tried to go back to bed, but I couldn’t stop thinking about what might of happened had we not been home, or out of town, or just didn’t have sensitive noses. The thought of your home burning down doesn’t really reassure you as you are trying to get back to sleep. After a few hours of fitful rest, I decided to google the product. There were years of complaints on message boards and big news of a recall just last month (October 2013). I strangely felt relieved, until I realized our model—the one smoldering in our driveway—was not included in the recall.

I’ve since sent an email with photos of the damaged product to the company. I may have used the words “catastrophic malfunction” in my message. I fully expect them to do the right thing… but I still can’t get that smell out of my head.

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