Action 9

‘Thought it was a gunshot’: Consumers complain of exploding oven glass

PORT ORANGE, Fla. — A loud explosion inside the home of a Port Orange family left them scrambling to figure out what was going on.  It turns out, the front glass from their oven blew out into their kitchen as they were watching television in the next room.

“I thought it was a gunshot that went off,” Steve Hackerman told Action 9.  He was in his living room when he heard the sound.

He said, “First, I yelled to my wife to see if she was okay.”

Hackerman then walked into the kitchen.  That’s where he saw broken pieces of glass spread out all over his floor.

He said the front oven glass from his Frigidaire stove had burst, and he’s not the first person to claim that happened to their stove.

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Action 9 and our sister stations have received more than 40 complaints about glass blow outs from people in 21 different states specifically for Frigidaire brand stoves.

We also analyzed data from the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  From 2011 to 2022 there were 1,500 cases of glass exploding or shattering on stoves from different manufacturers, 114 of those were from Florida.

Appliance expert Mike Mannino said, “A hairline fracture can happen at any time. You won’t see it.”  He told Action 9 with those small fractures, if the oven heats up that can cause the glass to blow out.  It’s even more likely if the oven is in self-cleaning mode with extremely high temperatures.

While some consumers who reached out to Action 9 had heated ovens at the time of the glass blow outs, others like Hackerman, said their stoves were cold.

“My son, he’s lucky he wasn’t in the kitchen. I’ll tell you because he would have got hit with this glass,” Hackerman said.

He told us he’s now using his oven for storage and doing most cooking with an air fryer.  His stove was installed in 2018, and it was out of warranty.  He claims Frigidaire told him he was out of luck.

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“They told me, ‘You don’t have an extended warranty,’  And I told them, ‘That’s not a warranty thing. That’s a defect,’”  he said.

Frigidaire’s parent company Electrolux said it will have its customer service team follow up with Hackerman. It told us frequently glass failures after the first year like this, are from damage during use. For example someone using the oven door to push in the racks could damage the glass.  The company also noted it takes the safety of its products seriously.

Here’s more detailed information provided by an Electrolux spokeswoman in response to our inquiry about this issue:

We are sorry to hear of Mr. Hackerman’s difficulties he is experiencing with our product. Electrolux Group takes the safety of its products seriously and we always want our consumers to have a positive experience. I have immediately relayed this information to our Customer Service team so they can follow up with the consumer directly to understand more.

All of our products comply with household cooking standards UL 825 and ANSI Z21.1. These standards recognize the glass used in every manufacturer’s oven door may infrequently break and so require the glass to break into small fragments with rounded edges if a failure does occur. Although we know that glass breakage can be startling, our compliance with these standards has ensured that when it does occur, the potential for injury is substantially reduced.

The main causes of glass failures are either imperfections in the glass, or damage caused during use. When we assemble our ovens, we always check for imperfections and take extreme care to ensure that the glass is not damaged during the process; however, sometimes the imperfections are not visible. In these situations, the failure will normally occur early in the product life and would be covered under the manufacturer’s warranty.

Following the first year of purchase, failure in the glass has been typically due to damage caused during use. Frequently, damage to the glass is caused by using the door to push in the oven rack or by an object accidently hitting the interior or exterior glass. Both examples may cause a weakness that could lead to failure over time.

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Owner’s manuals included with our ovens outline precautions recommended to protect the glass from weakening over time:

Special Door Care Instructions - Most oven doors contain glass that can break. Read the following recommendations:

1.         Do not close the oven door until all the oven racks are fully in place.

2.         Do not hit the glass with pots, pans, or any other object.

3.         Scratching, hitting, jarring or stressing the glass may weaken its structure causing an increased risk of breakage at a later time.

Jeff Deal

Jeff Deal, WFTV.com

I joined the Eyewitness News team as a reporter in 2006.