Three years ago, a Connecticut fire marshal was investigating a fire that started when a 20-year-old’s desk chair caught on fire after the phone charger he was using shorted out. The phone charger was reportedly from the AmazonBasics line.
According to CNN, the 20-year-old was rushed to the hospital after suffering severe burns while attempting to carry the burning chair out of his room and outside the home which he shared with his mom. In the fire marshal’s report, Anthony Dignoti noted that the door and door frame were damaged by the fire as well and that bowls strewn about the young man’s room, which “had been filled with water in an attempt to extinguish the fire.”
Here is what you should know about the AmazonBasics products that some customers say have exploded.
As Dignoti continued, he also revealed that the cord which was being used to charge the 20-year-old’s phone at the time had become so hot while short-circuiting that “the heat produced by the cord ignited the upholstery of the office chair.” AmazonBasics is a budget-friendly line created by Amazon which offers products like “electronics, household appliances, home goods, and office accessories. The brand was launched by Amazon in 2009.
However, since 2016, CNN reports that on more than 70 of the items from the line there are at least 1,500 total comments that describe the “products exploding, catching on fire, smoking, melting, causing electrical malfunctions, or otherwise posing risks.” Nonetheless, when talking with electrical engineers, they told CNN that when items like these are “well-made and used properly by consumers, electronics like those sold under the AmazonBasics name should rarely pose dangers.”
As CNN continues in their report, the reviews calling out these dangerous possibilities only represent a small number of the items sold, and when it comes to electronics in general, fire, shortages, and other malfunctions can happen to any product made by any brand. User error, as well as faulty wiring in the home, can also be factors.
Nonetheless, something to be aware of, if you are an Amazon customer and plan on purchasing items from their Basics line, many of the items that have three or more comments regarding fires, explosions, and more are still available for purchase.
According to a study put on by CNN after receiving a defective microwave from a disgruntled customer, it was discovered that the design of the panel covering the heating and the way it was secured “allowed debris such as food or grease to collect behind it and possibly ignite.”
CNN reported that “as soon as the researchers turned it on, the microwave began sparking and smoking, causing it to react as if its user put foil or other metal inside. The testing was cut short when the lab was closed due to Covid-19.”
In a statement issued by Amazon to CNN, they said “safety is its top priority.” And although Amazon did not comment on whether improvements had been made to the microwave, Amazon “is confident the microwave is safe to use and that it continues to ‘meet or exceed’ all of the applicable certification requirements.”
Amazon said there are a number of reasons why an item may no longer be available, but that customers will be notified if a critical safety issue is identified. Former employees tell CNN that even just a few mentions of electrical fire should be enough for Amazon to pull it from the shelves.
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