Faulty washing machines linked to house fires

An after and before shot of the Jordan family home.
An after and before shot of the Jordan family home. Photo: Supplied

Emma Jordan had just put a load of washing in the machine and was taking a dip in her swimming pool when she heard the fire alarm go off.

She raced back into her "dream home" on the Gold Coast, which her family had moved into only a month before, to see flames busting out of her laundry and soot everywhere. 

"When the ambulance came and put the blood pressure monitor on she said, 'You alright love? ... Was that a Samsung washing machine?" Mrs Jordan said.

A Samsung washing machine that almost burnt down a home in Salamander Bay near Port Stephens.
A Samsung washing machine that almost burnt down a home in Salamander Bay near Port Stephens. Photo: Suppied

The police and firefighters asked her the same question.

There have been 179 "incidents" nationwide involving six defective Samsung washing machine models since the company issued a recall for them in April 2013, Samsung said. The incidents include over-heating, smoking or catching fire.

Fairfax Media believes these incidents may be under-reported as many state fire and emergency services do not record the detail of the brand of appliance that causes an electrical fire.

Despite the company's efforts to recall the machines, more than 83,000 of them are still out there, the company said, posing a serious fire risk to households. 

The latest fire occurred on Wednesday. When Jacquie Briskham, of Salamander Bay in NSW, discovered the blaze, she managed to limit the damage by turning off her mains power and fighting the laundry fire with a garden hose.

Emma Jordan and her husband Craig were less fortunate.


The fire left the house they share with their two sons covered in a "black, toxic, chemical grease" from the burning laundry products, Mrs Jordan, said.

Most of their home contents were written off, in addition to ceiling and wall damage.

Samsung has paid for the family's temporary accommodation since the fire in January. They were able to move back home last week.

The Jordan family.
The Jordan family. Photo: Supplied

A spokesperson for Fair Trading NSW said it believed Samsung had made "genuine repeated efforts to alert and contact consumers" about the recall.

This included taking out newspaper advertisements, issuing media releases, contacting partner retailers to obtain customer details, and a letter-box drop.

But 83,686 machines out of nearly 150,000 sold across Australia have yet to be serviced to prevent the water leakage fault which can cause electrical fires.

The Samsung washing machine from a fire near Port Stephens.
The Samsung washing machine from a fire near Port Stephens. Photo: Suppied

Fair Trading's spokesperson said so many machines were unaccounted for because "some consumers may not be concerned by the recall announcements" and "some may not be aware that the recall applies to their appliance".

The Jordans and Ms Briskham said they were never contacted by Samsung or the stores where they bought the machines to alert them to the recall.

Both stores - Rezzie's Betta Home Living in Forster and The Good Guys in Cairns - had the Jordans' and Ms Briskham's contact phone numbers on record.

The Good Guys home appliances business manager Denis Harvey said it had provided Samsung with contact details where it had them on record.

Ms Briskham said the recall procedure "sucks" and was "broken" and that it was a miracle no one had died as a result of the fault in the machines.

Consumer Affairs Minister Bruce Billson has been contacted for comment.

Consumers who are concerned about their machine should contact Samsung's Product Safety Hotline on 1800 239 655 to arrange the free in-home service. The affected models are: