Bay Area man's stovetop grill erupts into sparks

Michael Finney Image
Thursday, June 25, 2015
Bay Area man's stovetop grill erupts into sparks
EMBED <>More Videos

A man who had difficulty getting a refund after his stovetop grill erupted into sparks turned to 7 On Your Side's Michael Finney for help.

SAN FRANCISCO (KGO) -- A Bay Area man got a pretty good scare recently, when his stovetop grill suddenly erupted in sparks. It turns out there was a hole in the gas burner. And the story doesn't end there.

The manufacturer replaced the damaged part, but our viewer says another hole is already developing in the new gas line. He reported it to the federal government but couldn't return the stove or get a refund. That's when he came to 7 On Your Side for help.

Richard Kadel loves cooking on his BlueStar grill, if only he didn't have to worry about another blast.

"I was preparing the grill to cook dinner" he said. "And then all of a sudden there was a shower of sparks."

It cut off power in his house. Kadel lifted the grill top and quickly found the sources of the problem -- a big hole in the gas burner. Kadel showed 7 On Your Side the hole that was a good half inch around. He says the heat had shorted the igniter, sending up those sparks.

"So the next day I called the company," he said.

BlueStar replaced the burner immediately, and Kadel started grilling again. However, four months later, he says it's happening again.

"The second one was beginning to fail like the first one," he said. "You could see those dimples beginning to develop."

Kadel showed us the new gas burner that looks worn in the same spot as the old one.

"At that point I was sufficiently alarmed," he said.

Kadel wrote a detailed report and sent it to BlueStar and to the retailer, Ferguson Enterprises. He also notified the Consumer Product Safety Commission. He says only the CPSC contacted him.

An investigator came and took a report saying it seemed the problem is indeed happening again. The CPSC has taken no further action.

Still worried about the grill, Kadel contacted 7 On Your Side, and we contacted BlueStar. In a statement, the company told us its stoves are safe: "There is no defect and no safety issue posed by the stovetop charbroiler or griddle on any of our ranges, all of which are designed to meet the highest safety standards."

Next, we contacted Ferguson Enterprises and we got action.

"The next day the company called me," Kadel said. "And offered me a full refund of almost $9,400."

And there it is, a check for the full purchase price of that range.

"That was a great relief," he said.

BlueStar tells 7 On Your Side it has had only seven service requests on its ranges over the past 10 years. And other than Kadel, BlueStar says no one has raised a safety issue. We'll keep watch.