Woman calls ABC7 after glass on oven explodes

October 20, 2011 12:00:00 AM PDT
If glass breaks, you usually know why, but one Bay Area woman was shocked when the glass on her oven door shattered for no apparent reason.

Martha Kavanaugh showed us what's left of her oven door -- it used to have a glass shield over the metal face until the day it exploded.

"I heard this big nose...I thought maybe somebody hit the house," Kavanaugh said.

It happened when she was alone in the house, getting dressed for a wedding. Kavanaugh heard a loud noise and went into the kitchen.

"The first thing I saw was my floor full of all this white stuff," Kavanaugh said. "I couldn't believe my eyes."

It took a minute to realize the glass had blown off the door of her 7-year-old General Electric oven. Millions of tiny fragments were scattered in all directions. Six pounds of broken glass was swept into a shopping bag.

"Basically, the oven door spontaneously exploded," said son Tim Kavanaugh.

It happened for no apparent reason, according to Kavanaugh: They hadn't used the oven in two days and nobody was in the kitchen. Still, their home warranty company would not cover the repair, saying someone must have whacked it.

The claim denial said it broke "due to physical force." Kavanaugh said no way.

Kavanaugh called General Electric, who offered to send out a technician for a fee. Kavanaugh said she shouldn't have to pay, and then she contacted 7 On Your Side.

We contacted General Electric and the company admitted the glass on a range can suddenly shatter if it's been damaged before. GE says the glass might not shatter until long after the damage was done -- even months later.

"GE warns consumers about inadvertent damage to glass oven doors -- including the potential for broken or shattered glass -- in its Use and Care Guide," a statement from General Electric said.

Specifically, the guide says to "avoid scratching or impacting glass doors, cooktops or control panels. Doing so may lead to glass breakage."

GE did not say how bad the damage must be to result in shattering. GE says breaks are very rare, but the company uses a tempered glass design to break safely -- just in case.

Kavanaugh was able to run her fingers through the glass without being cut.

"It's glass. Glass breaks," repairman Tony Fusaro said. "But usually it has to be hit."

Fusaro has been repairing appliances for 30 years and says the most vulnerable glass is the piece inside the oven door -- especially after running a self-cleaning cycle.

"The outer door is not the one that breaks that often," said Fusaro.

Kavanaugh is sure she didn't damage the door. After ABC7 got involved, GE stepped up and replaced her glass for free.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission said there have not been any recalls of the GE models for glass breakage.

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