Garbage disposal switch sparks electrical fire at Lafayette home

Problem Solvers
Data pix.

LAFAYETTE, Colo. (KDVR) -- A Lafayette man had scary moments at his home Monday morning as his garbage disposal switch sparked an electrical fire in his kitchen. He then discovered the item that caused the fire is currently under recall. But he never received a notification from the store where he purchased it.

At 7:30 a.m. on Monday, Jess Cobb’s wife had just returned from the gym. She discovered the garbage disposal was running and smoke was pouring out of it. She called for Jess to come downstairs.

“The end of the plug was actually smoldering and so I ran out, grabbed my wire cutters, and cut the end off and got it outside on the concrete,” Cobb said.

Cobb purchased an “InSinkErator” single-outlet Sink Top switch for his garbage disposal. The air -activated switch mounts to the counter top.

“The scary part is it turned on all by itself,” Cobb said.

Cobb grabbed his computer to look up the product. He immediately discovered it was under recall. The manufacturer, Emerson Electric, recalled it two years ago due to fire hazard. The company said water can get into the power module, posing a fire hazard. The switches under recall were sold between 2005 and October 2017 at home improvement retailers, websites, and through plumbing trade contacts and outlets.

Cobb purchased his InSinkErator from The Home Depot location in north Thornton in 2017.

“Why didn’t I know this? This has been under recall since 2018,” Cobb said.

The item is listed on The Home Depot’s website under their recall list, but Cobb questions why The Home Depot didn’t notify customers directly. His email is on file with the company.

“I don’t think people go to websites and look at recall lists. You guys knew. You knew there’s an issue. Send me an email. It's super simple,” Cobb said.

The FOX31 Problem Solvers reached out to The Home Depot media relations department. The Home Depot issued this statement:

“We’re sorry to hear about Mr. Cobb’s recent experience. In this instance the Consumer Product Safety Commission did not require the retailers to contact customers. In these circumstances we expect the product manufacturer or supplier to contact affected customers.” 

Emerson Electric said they recommend that customers register their product through their website in case of a recall like this. But for Cobb, he would like to see protocol changed. He wants a direct notification if this were to happen again.

“When there’s a fire hazard involved and people’s lives are at stake, everybody needs to put down the motives for higher profits and worrying about being sued – step forward and do the right thing so people don’t lose their lives," he said.

The manufacturer, Emerson Electric, is working with Cobb right now to cover the damage costs as well as get him a replacement piece.

More information on this recall is available online.

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