GE Hotpoint range fire hazard: it happened to us

Has anyone else had or heard of anyone having problems with GE / Hotpoint ranges that get some kind of short in the broiler which causes it to suddenly light up as bright as the sun and start sparking & flaming, like a road flare, right at the electrical connection on one end at the back wall of the oven? And when you turn the oven control knob "off", and the electric "power" light goes off, but the broiler stays energized and you can't turn it off?
We had this happen today. It happened all of a sudden. We had the oven (not the broiler) turned on on our GE / Hotpoint MODEL#: RB757 range (7 years old). It had been on about 4 minutes preheating. Then it made a loud POP and lit up bright as the sun inside the oven compartment as sparks and flames shot out the place where the broiler coil connects to the electrical contact in the back wall of the oven.
When the fire trucks arrived and the firefighters rushed in, they kept spraying it and it just kept hissing and smoking but stayed lit up real bright at that one point and on fire (I had turned off the control knob and assumed maybe there was some food stuck on it that was causing it to still burn, but they said no, it's still energized.). As soon as I switched off the breaker, the bright light and fire and hissing immediately ceased. There was no food on the element.
They dragged the range out the front door and onto the concrete driveway and doused it, and said I should contact the manufacturer, which I will.
But first I want to see if this has happened to others. I looked for any evidence on the web of this happening to anyone else; all I found is one person said she got "E2" or soemthing error code displayed on her range and the broiler would come on even with the knob in the "off" position, and had to turn it off at the breaker. But she didn't have the sparks and fire.
Any evidence of this not just happening to us is appreciated. Thanks,
- Bobby & Susan
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good Music wrote:

There's a recall on it: http://www.cpsc.gov/cpscpub/prerel/prhtml04/04576.html
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SixGun had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-GE-Hotpoint-range-fire-hazard-it-happened-to-us-24974-.htm :
------------------------------------- Hell Toupee wrote:

Wow just read this and yes this happened to us on New Year's Day 2009. The oven was turned on to keep warm some french toast and the element sparked and popped and starting burning like a magnesium flare. Turned off the oven with no effect element continued to burn like the sun. Poured baking soda on it with little effect. Used a fire extingusiher made for kitchen use and that finally extinguished it. Called fire dept to be sure it was really out they used a thermal imager to be sure there were no hot spots. The fireman had never seen this before. Bad way to start the New Year, but grateful it wasn't any worse. The public needs to be made aware of this potentially fatal flaw in this appliance. As for the New Year we just bought a Frigidaire Electric Range and pray this won't happen again to us or any one else. Tom & Laurie
##-----------------------------------------------## Delivered via http://www.thestuccocompany.com/ Building Construction and Maintenance Forum Web and RSS access to your favorite newsgroup - alt.home.repair - 333469 messages and counting! ##-----------------------------------------------##
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
SixGun wrote:

http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/Re-GE-Hotpoint-range-fire-hazard-it-happened-to-us-24974-.htm
turned on stove (not a GE but I can't remember brand) and burner flared as described and would not turn off. Wife has since learned how to operate circuit breaker. Also old stove was directly wired in but new one has a plug you can pull although you have to pull out stove.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Good Music wrote:

Why didnt you pull the breaker before you called the fire department? I am assuming this is an electrical model and not a gas one? Sorry I dont own this model I don't think, and don't know of this happening to anyone else. Ill check my model when I get home, but mine is gas and I assume yours is not.
--
Respectfully,


CL Gilbert
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
You want us to believe
* The fire department used water hose on what was obviously an electric stove * That you, the home owner, was the person who turned off the breaker
Sir, we'll assume for the moment that you are telling the truth. I'd be sure to contact your local fire department and tell them that their hose jockeys are desperately in need of some training. Actually, you could use some training, too.
--

Christopher A. Young
Do good work.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Where did it say that the FD used a water hose?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
"When the fire trucks arrived and the firefighters rushed in, they kept spraying it and it just kept hissing and smoking but stayed lit up real bright at that one point and on fire (I had turned off the control knob and assumed maybe there was some food stuck on it that was causing it to still burn, but they said no, it's still energized.). As soon as I switched off the breaker, the bright light and fire and hissing immediately ceased. There was no food on the element."
The OP didn't say water hose, or some other device. But, it's a pretty good guess.
--

Christopher A. Young
Do good work.
  Click to see the full signature.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
OKay. They sprayed it in the kitchen while it was on. They realized it was still energized. We couldn't find a breaker. They pulled the plug and lugged it into the front yard. They sprayed it in the yard. This is ridiculous. Whatever. If anyone wants to serisouly discuss this, contact me privately. I forgot, this is why I quit reading any newsgroups for enjoyment.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Wow, didn't know we have trolls on home repair newsgroup too, guess you can't escape them anywhere...
Anyway, I'll take the bait this time:
(1) I turned of ALL the breakers inside the house. This did not shut off the power to the stove. It turns out the stove power in our hose is wired directly to the electic meter box on the outside wall of our house. The firemen took heavy pliars and cut off the lock that was on that meter box, which had been put there by the electric company when the house was built 7 years ago. Inside the (previously locked) meter box, we found switches to turn off the kitchen 240v range outlet, the outdoor air conditioner condenser unit, and the electric motor to the furnace/AC in the attic. The fire captain said he'd never seen anything like that. I checked with neighbors and all our houses are the same. This is the type workmanship we've come to expect from new subdivision developments unfortunately. This is the result of very poor planning in the wiring of our house, and we're hiring an electrician to come in & install an indoor switch to turn off at least the kitchen range outlet.
(2) Yes, The fire department sprayed the inside of the oven with some kind of liquid solution from a tank once the unit was unplugged and the fire was out, to cool it down, since it had gotten abnormally hot and the insulation was fuming.
(3) Called G.E. and they said yes, this model was recalled, but only the units made around 2004; mine was made in 1998 or so, so they said that although it's the same model, it's outside the time period of units G.e. has deemed defective. I told them to send a rep out and He can plug it back in and watch it throw flames and sparks. They said if they send out a rep,. it will be on a "service call" basis, and they'll charge me $50 just for him to come out to the house and decide if he wants to make a record of it as a defect, but they're not going to replace it since it's over a year old, even if it burned the house down, they seemed to indicate they feel they have no responsibility or legal liability because the G.e. 1-year warranty has expired. We're going to decide if it's worth the hassle of small claims court just to recoup the cost of an equvalent replacement (since it didn't actually cause any damage thank goodness).
Anyway, the original purpose of this post was to find out if anyone had similar problems - if so let me know, thanks.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
Hotpoint had written this in response to http://www.thestuccocompany.com/maintenance/GE-Hotpoint-range-fire-hazard-it-happened-to-us-24926-.htm :
Good Music wrote:

-------------------------------------
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
On Thu, 07 Jan 2010 20:39:19 +0000, rityler_at_metrocast_dot snipped-for-privacy@foo.com (Hotpoint) wrote:

broke and the one end fell to the bottom and started arcing to the oven liner - just like a wire feed arc welder it kept arcing and burning a slot in the bottom of the oven. Shutting off the oven stopped the fireworks in this case.
If it didn't on yours I'd suspect something wasn't wired right or you had more than one simultaneous failure.

Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload
replying to Good Music, Karen wrote: This happemed to me last night....did you ever get any answers or recourse from GE? I have the Hotpoint RB540 and it is 7 years old, almost to the day.
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Look at the time line for the posts in the thread. It started in 2005, then there's a gap of 4 years, then a gap of another year, and now it's up and running again almost 4 years later.
Will it never die?
Add pictures here
<% if( /^image/.test(type) ){ %>
<% } %>
<%-name%>
Add image file
Upload

Related Threads

    HomeOwnersHub.com is a website for homeowners and building and maintenance pros. It is not affiliated with any of the manufacturers or service providers discussed here. All logos and trade names are the property of their respective owners.