Your Coffee Maker: Is It a Potential Fire Hazard?

March 13, 2018, 1:20 pm EST | Share:

JAMES ISLAND, SC (ASHLEY BLACKSTONE, WTAT-TV) — For nearly 44 years, the Hornsby family has lived in a two story home on James Island.

“I think we were very lucky,” said Tommy Hornsby. “Your house is probably the most valued asset that you have.”

However, 79-year-old Tommy says he almost lost it.

“I am glad we are here talking,” he smiled.

Hornsby has renewed relief. That’s because his morning routine abruptly changed.

“The flame was hitting right here,” Hornsby said as he pointed to his charred kitchen cabinet.

There’s not much left of his Keurig coffee maker – a Christmas present from his wife, three years ago.

“I enjoyed it. It was easy. Just one cup a day usually satisfies me if it is strong enough,” he explained.

That convenience, though, caught fire in January. The machine was on and just finished brewing.

“I started watching television with my back to the coffee maker and the dog was barking. I turned around and asked the dog to be quiet, but she was barking at the fire,” he said. “The flames were up to the ceiling.”

Hornsby says his dog’s protectiveness definitely saved the situation from being much worse. He says the damage was estimated to be more than $12,000.

“I would like for at least for Keurig to reimburse me for the deductible (for the insurance). I think it is some of their responsibility. If I did not have the Keurig coffee pot, we wouldn’t have this damage.”

FOX 24 reached out to Keurig. They sent us a statement confirming they’ve been in touch with Tommy Hornsby. They’ve requested he mail the K-60 brewer to them for a full evaluation.

The machine, though, has already been examined by a different company.

A fire investigator recommended by Hornsby’s insurance company confirmed the machine was not under a recall. The letter says, “The cause of the fire cannot be determined from the received evidence. The burn patterns indicate that it was caused by an external source of heat.”

Tommy disagrees. “I don’t see where an external source could have caused the source. There is just no way an external source could have caused it,” he said.

Tommy says the only other external source is his oven. It was not damaged. Also, the outlet the coffee machine was plugged into was not damaged.

Google ‘Keurig fires’ and you’ll find multiple articles of similar stories. Also, 6.6 million mini brewing systems were recalled by Keurig in 2014 after reported water burns.

While coffeemaker fires are rare, they do happen. The Consumer Product Safety Commission tells us that 300 consumers reported fires from various coffee-makers. We don’t know all of the brands because CPSC redacts that information.

“I don’t try to say don’t buy a Keurig, I think that’s your choice to buy something,” he said. “But I will never own another one.”

He simply wants his story to be a lesson to coffee lovers because a simple action can possibly save your home and your life.

“Just unplug it. Even though this may not be major, it could have been very major,” said Tommy. It’s kind of a public information type that we need to share.”

FOX 24 asked Keurig about Tommy’s advice. They say, “The only time we suggest unplugging our brewers is for cleaning or maintenance.”

Tommy Hornsby hasn’t decided if he will send the machine back to Keurig for evaluation.