ACR-News
29 October 2009

Fridge explosion sparks worldwide recall

SAMSUNG has today announced a 'home visit repair programme' on two ranges of fridge freezers in Korea and Europe following the case of a domestic fridge explosion in West Bromwich in May and a more recent case in Korea.
The repair programme involves the now-discontinued RS21 and RS60 range of domestic fridge freezers, manufactured between March 2005 and June 2006

The repair announcement follows the ACR News story on our website (acr-news.com) in August, questioning the safety of domestic fridges. It detailed a number of incidents including one in May in West Bromwich in which, according to the local Express & Star, a family was woken by the sound of its fridge-freezer exploding 'like an earthquake', smashing windows and doors, blowing holes in the ceiling and ripping the roof off the conservatory.

A press statement from the Korean manufacturer said: 'Samsung Electronics has decided to take this action after concluding that in a minority of cases the models' defrost system may require repair to put right a defect in its assembly. In very rare cases, there is the potential for internal sparking to occur and in consequence, damage to the appliance.'

The company told ACR News: 'In very rare cases, the rubber seal that provides insulation may carbonise when subjected to excessive temperatures, caused by the assembly issue. This can result in a partial short circuit within the defrost heater. In some cases this may lead to possible internal sparking. The sparking can rupture the external surface of the heater allowing the sparking to concentrate on the surrounding surfaces or adjacent internal components - which depending on the location of the sparking could, in very rare occasions lead to leaking of the coolant.'

While the number of fridges affected in the UK is unclear, in Germany, 38,000 units are thought to be involved. In Korea, it is reported to affect 210,000 units in that country. According to the Korean JoongAng Daily, the recall came after a refrigerator exploded on October 10 at an apartment in Yongin, Gyeonggi.

A Samsung UK spokesman told ACR News: 'Whilst, as I'm sure you appreciate the chances of similar incidents occurring are extremely remote, Samsung is committed to providing the highest standards of customer care, and has decided to run a home visit repair programme, starting November 2nd.'

Investigations continue into the separate and more widely-reported case of the explosion of the Creda fridge owned by Kathy Cullingworth of Normanton, West Yorkshire.

Customers of Samsung fridge freezers can visit the website at www.samsung.com/uk/homevisit to identify if their appliance is part of this programme. In addition, if customers have further questions they can contact a helpline on 0800 988 0123 which has been put in place for this programme.

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