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The Night My Dishwasher Caught Fire

A few weeks ago, we had family in from out of town and we hosted a family dinner.

We had started eating dessert and my son, who had decided to be particularly helpful that night had finished loading the dishwasher and started it. Despite my asking him to come and join us in the dining room, he chose to continue doing the dishes that hadn’t made it into the dishwasher.

Some time later (5-10 minutes, maybe?) he shouted from the kitchen:

“Mommy!!!  There’s black smoke coming from the dishwasher!!!”

My brother made it to the kitchen before I did & opened the dishwasher door.  I was closely behind him and saw the flames come shooting out while water simultaneously sprayed out of the dishwasher all over the kitchen.

Version 2“Get the breaker!!!”, he shouted.

My husband was on his way downstairs to do just that.

My brother succeeded in containing the fire and with no power, it died out.

He then disconnected the dishwasher so that we could not have another such surprise.

The smell was awful despite the windows being open, but we were just grateful that the fire was out…and that we had caught it in time.

I just kept thinking: Thank G-d my son was in the mood to be so helpful. My husband & I would have left everything until everyone left and likely have run the dishwasher right before bed…and then…G-d Forbid.

The control panel had caught fire. That’s why the water didn’t shut down when we opened the door.

It turns out that this is not so uncommon.

When I told a friend about it she told me – “Oh yeah, that happened to us, too.”


When I started to write this post I googled dishwasher control panel caught fire and found out that apparently there was a class action suit that was started for exactly this reason! I further googled our dishwasher model: Kenmore Elite Model 665.16482300 – Same thing happened to others with same model (as well as with other models).

(When I finish writing, I will explore further as to whether or not we have any claim under the suit or if the time has passed…)

So why am I sharing this story with you?

First of all – I recommend googling your dishwasher make and model number together with the words dishwasher fire to see if anyone has had an ‘incident’ with your model.

Secondly, equally as importantly, because I want to impress upon you that no matter how busy or rushed we are…it’s a bad idea to turn on an appliance and go to bed or leave the house.

Sounds crazy?

Allow me briefly share with you another story of what happened in our home 6 years ago.

I was out of the house, when I received a frantic call from our housekeeper:

“Tanya- It’s raining in the den- I don’t know what to do – The washing machine is not stopping”

My husband was nearby and instructed her immediately as to how to shut the water valve.

Since our laundry room is upstairs, the water had made its way down and damaged roughly 30% of our home – on 3 different floors.

Once again, Thank G-d that she was home – it could have been so much worse.

Another example? We have friends who turned on their dishwasher and went to bed only to wake up to a flooded kitchen and basement.

You’ve probably heard of dryer fires as well.  While it is important to empty our lint traps in order to prevent them, if one were to happen, imagine the difference of being home and awake to do damage control vs. being away or asleep…

The list goes on.

This is why you should only turn on your appliances when you are going to be home and awake.

I remind those of you who will be away for the holidays: Please consider running your machines so that they have completed their cycles before you leave for your week-long vacation.

Trust me. As an entrepreneur with 4 kids, I could truly use the convenience of having the machines do the work while I am at work, running errands or asleep…but it’s just not.worth.the.risk.

That said, this is just my opinion- Do with it what you will. (including sharing this with friends and family so that they can be safer as well).

Have you had a similar experience? If so, please share in the comments section so that we can all learn from your experience…

Wishing you a safe holiday and a safe everyday 😉


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  1. I can certainly relate! Just had the dryer catch fire two nights ago. Thank goodness we were home to catch it in time (as weird as that sounds). Despite the somewhat minimal damage visible to te eye, we have to contend with the HUGE clean up that we don’t necessarily see (the entire house fumigated for days, an entire team of pros to clean every nook and cranny, laundering all the clothes, etc). Not to mention the fact that my daughter and I inhaled toxic fumes. Fact is…it would have been a complete home loss had we not been around to stop it in time. Count myself lucky 😉

    • Wow Shafrit! Thank you for sharing. I am aware of the huge cleanup involved from smoke damage …”the black smoke”. I am so glad to hear that you and your daughter are safe despite having inhaled fumes… Wishing you a safe winter break and a healthy happy & safe New Year!

  2. Thank you for this eye-opening article! I will never operate the dishwasher and/or washing machine and dryer unless I am home and awake again. Happy Holidays to you and your loved ones!

  3. This is very important! It’s also one of the reasons I don’t bother with a dishwasher and prefer to airdry when possible.

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