Her Bosch dishwasher likely isn’t affected, but she doesn’t want to take any chances. Taking the cautionary road is something she learned the hard way, after a kitchen appliance fire burnt down her Vernon, B.C., home on Dec. 10, 2016.
Less than one year before that, Middleton had bought the Kenmore Elite stove for a home that was meant to be her and her husband’s retirement sanctuary. It was a Boxing Day deal at the local Sears outlet store.
“It was really sweet. It was a convection oven. It was just top drawer,” Middleton told Global News.
She took a picture and texted her husband excitedly about the deal — it was an approximately $3,000 stove on sale for $1,679.94. Amazed by the price, she asked workers if there were any known issues with the appliance.
“When we picked up the stove from the Sears store, I said, ‘Is there a recall? Is there a problem?”
They told her ‘No,’ and soon the appliance was in her home.
But it was under a recall in the United States, she would learn later — after her home was ash. Fire investigators confirmed the stove — which was completely turned off — was the culprit.
WATCH: Recent recalls in Canada
“Ours was the worst write-off I could find in U.S. and Canada,” she said, explaining that the stove had caused fires south of the border.
“We lost more than stuff. That was everything. We lost all our pictures, everything.”
Thankfully, the couple and their dog weren’t home that day. The fire, which started around midnight, engulfed the home within minutes.
“The investigators said this is a big, fast fire.”
“Our house was just a little bungalow, so I don’t know what would have happened if we were in there, if we would have made it or not, or died from all the chemicals and smoke.”
Now, they live in another home that they had planned on renting out. The furniture in the home is scarce, and the process of rebuilding is emotionally draining, she says.
“To rebuild, that’s the toughest part,” she says. “Whoever goes through this needs to get counselling.”
Middleton does in-depth research on each appliance she buys now, and she does regular Google searches on everything she owns looking for new recalls. She hopes others who learn of her story will do the same.
If a product is under recall, take action immediately, she says.
“It’s a ticking time bomb. I’ve been trying to get people to listen. Don’t give it away, don’t sell it. They’re garbage.”
Keeping track of recalls, and how to take action
It’s something Lewis Smith of Canada Safety Council agrees with.
“Our advice is to always be on the lookout for any recalls impacting you, because using a product that has been deemed unsafe by the manufacturer can put you in harm’s way very quickly,” he said in an email to Global News.
“Don’t ever ignore a recall because the timing isn’t convenient – your personal health and safety are much more important.”
Smith advises Canadians to check Health Canada, and Transport Canada for vehicle recalls, which provide the most up-to-date information. Canadians can also look to news outlets for recall information.
WATCH: Fire safety in the kitchen
In an email to Global News, Health Canada said consumers can keep track of product recalls in several ways.
Other instances of damage caused by recalled products
Kitchen appliances are only one product that can cause damage if not dealt with properly. There have also been instances of recalls of cars which caused injuries.
Toronto Deputy Fire Chief Jim Jessop says fires caused by recalled products aren’t very common in the city. But there have been some instances, specifically one this September caused by a portable air conditioner that has been under recall since December 2016. The incident led to four people being transported to hospital.
Toronto Fire Services urged the city’s residents to take recalls seriously following the residential building fire.
In addition to checking for recalls, Jessop told Global News that instructions on how to use appliances properly shouldn’t be ignored.
“The manufacturer’s maintenance instructions should always be followed,” he said.
“Take it seriously.”