Dehumidifier recall warning following Kaukauna house fire

KAUKAUNA, Wis. (WFRV) – With wet damp basements around our viewing area, no doubt many people pulled out their dehumidifiers.
But, we have a warning about the appliance. More than two million units are being recalled because of fire danger. 

A Kaukauna family was forced from their home last night, after their dehumidifier started on fire. 

They have no idea if it was part of a massive nationwide recall, but they do know it stared a fire that caused extensive damage to their home. 

“Being a basement fire, obviously fire goes up and could have taken the whole house” says Kaukauna’s Assistant Fire Chief Chad Gerrits.  

Thanks to quick action from the Kaukauna Fire Department the Henry Street home is still standing. 

From the outside it looks ok, in the basement it is a different story. 

“There is quite a bit of smoke damage” Assistant Chief Gerrits says. 

The homeowners invited Local 5 inside to see the damage done by their dehumidifier.

It will be weeks before they can live here again.  They hope to encourage other families to check if their unit is recalled. 

“It is easy to do, people just forget to do it. They forget to check. Obviously it can turn into a pretty big deal if you do not check it” according to Assistant Chief Gerrits. 

It is important to remember this appliance is not only used in your home. 

Many businesses use dehumidifiers. 

In fact, Lawrence University found almost two dozen units on the recall list.

“We were very conscious about the danger that could have done to the campus here” says Patrick Connor, Trades Manager, for the University. 

The dehumidifiers are used all over the University, in residence halls and classroom buildings. 

But, the recall is not the only reason the appliances can start on fire. 

According to the Assistant Chief “a lot of people use their extension cords as permanent wiring and that is a big no no”. 

Though the recall started in 2013 many people have yet to check their dehumidifiers. 

Common name brands including GE, Frigidaire, and Kenmore are impacted. It is simple to get a free replacement. 

“I went through the process” Assistant Chief Gerrits says. “You send them a cord, they send you a check. You get a new dehumidifier and you are good to go. You do not have to worry about your family being in danger”. 

The homeowners in Kaukauna say they had heard about the recall, but had not checked their unit. They may never know if it was part of the recall.

To check if your dehumidifier is a danger click here. The search takes just a few moments. 

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