Action 9: Refrigerator catches fire with children nearby

by: Jason Stoogenke Updated:

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A man says his refrigerator caught fire while his children were just feet away.

Action 9 investigator Jason Stoogenke helped him get money to buy a new fridge and spent days digging into similar fires.

Every year, there are people who report smelling smoke from their refrigerators or even seeing fire.

"Right here is where the fire was coming from. It was shooting the flames from there," said Jason Lightfritz.

Lightfritz was cooking his children breakfast when he saw fire coming from his Frigidaire refrigerator, which was less than a year old.

He got his children out of the house.

"As long as my house is still here and my kids are still here, that's fine. I can proceed from there," Lightfritz said.

According to the Consumer Product Safety Commission, there were 38 refrigerator fires or burn marks reported nationwide in the past six months.

Frigidaire and its parent company, Electrolux, were in the report six times.

Other brands include:
* Sears- 16
* Whirlpool- nine
* LG and GE- three each
* Maytag- one

Underwriters Laboratories tests the safety of products, including refrigerators.

A spokesman said customers should read their manuals to find out how to prevent fires in their particular models.

"Make sure that you clean the coils periodically. Dust can build up either at the base of the refrigerator or at the back of the refrigerator," said John Drengenberg.

Lightfritz says he tried to get in touch with Electrolux but was spinning his wheels until he turned to Action 9.

"It is definitely heading in the right direction since (Action 9) got involved. There is no question about that because prior to that, there was no work with them," Lightfritz said.

The company promised to put the $800 for his fridge back on his credit card.

If you've been ripped off, overbilled or misled; or if you see something that is hurting all consumers, contact Action 9.