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June 11, 2010

The U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) announced that GE Appliances & Lighting, of Louisville, KY, is voluntarily recalling about 181,000 Front Load Washing Machines because an electrical defect can cause the appliance to burst into flames or shock users.

According to the release, a wire in the washer can break and make contact with a metal part on the washtub while the machine is in operation, posing a fire and shock hazard to consumers. The company is aware of seven cases in which flames escaped the appliance, causing smoke damage.

GE front load washing machine models affected by this recall include those models manufactured between December 2006 and February 2010 without auxiliary heating. Consumers may have purchased the washers at retail stores nationwide between December 2006 and May 2010 for about $700.

Consumers should look for the following model and serial numbers on the bottom right side and on the bottom door frame of the washers: Model number starting with WBVH5 and Serial number beginning with AM, AR, AS, AT, DM, DR, DS, FM, FR, FS, GM, GS, HM, HR, HS, LM, LR, LS, MM, MR, MS, RM, RR, RS, SM, SR, SS, TM, TR, TS, VM, VR, VS, ZL, ZM, ZR, ZS.

If a consumer determines that their front load washer is part of this recall, they should immediately stop using the appliance, unplug it from the electrical outlet and contact GE at (888) 345-4124 for a free repair.

At no cost to the consumer, a GE service technician will take off the front panel of the washer and place an insulating plastic shield on the metal plug on the side of the washtub. This shield will prevent any shock or fire hazard in the case of broken wires.

GE advises consumers that they are not to use the recalled washers until GE completes the repair.

“Our goal is to respond to a consumer with a qualified clothes washer within five working days (including Saturday),” the GE website says. “We may not be able to meet that goal in the first few days of the recall, but we will do our best to respond as quickly as possible.”

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