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Father tells of family's lucky escape after washing machine explodes

Published 13/10/2015

The washing machine after it exploded: Pic Craig Dobbin
The washing machine after it exploded: Pic Craig Dobbin
The washing machine after it exploded: Pic Craig Dobbin

A father has told how his family had a lucky escape after their washing machine exploded sending shards of metal into the air.

Craig Dobbin (46) and his family from Castlereagh could hardly believe it when they heard what sounded like a bomb exploding in their garage.

At first they didn't know what it was when it happened two Sundays ago.

The story was first highlighted on the BBC Stephen Nolan show.

Craig's wife had been doing washing and his teenage daughter was feeding their guinea pigs in the garage.

The 14-year-old left the garage within seconds of the Hoover OPH616 appliance exploding.

<< Have you had a horror experience with a washing machine? Let us know here >>

He said: "My daughter has guinea pigs and it lives beside the washing machine.  She was in the garage for about an hour back and forward with them.

"It was about 4pm and I heard this almighty explosion.

"It blew all the sockets all the power was off in the house.

"I couldn't really think where has that come from even.

"It literally disintegrated the whole top of the washing machine.

"We were in shock at what could have been."

Craig said his daughter would have been standing beside it and it would have blown up right in front of her had she not left seconds before.

"Shards of metal and hard glass and concrete just disintegrated and they were spread throughout my garage."

While none of the family saw the explosion - they saw the aftermath which included shards of metal lodged in to the floor.

Craig said: "I didn't see it we just heard the explosions. Blew all the power sockets in the house, the power all went down daughter came running into the house we went running out and just shredded plastic and concrete, metal shards.

"The drum itself has disintegrated that's a steel drum that's shrapnel just shredded through.

"Embedded in the wood on the floor and all over the garage.

"It's incredible. It's mind blowing."

Craig phoned Hoover to tell them about what had happened but was left angered when he was offered a warranty payment deal.

He said: "I said, so let me clarify you want me to pay you £16.99 per month for 12months for trying to kill my family,  is that where we are going?

"And he said no, it's not like that.

"I said, you are actually trying to charge me for potentially trying to kill my family?"

He was referred to Dublin where a man came to his house to inspect and take photos of the damaged appliance.

He was then offered a new machine but Craig wanted answers for what had happened.

He told the Belfast Telegraph: "I couldn't get it out of my head how close it was. It wouldn't have mattered if you were a grown man or pensioner or whatever, if it wasn't killing you, it would maim you.

"Paris was so close to it. It was hard to get that out of my head."

He took advice from family and the local council and eventually accepted £750 in compensation and a new machine which will be delivered tomorrow (Wednesday October 14).

He said: "I'm still very wary there is still someone out there that has this in their kitchen. Even the noise alone, if it was a pensioner or someone, and that went off the noise and the shock of it would probably kill them."

Craig said it's "staggering" that Hoover have not recalled the model.

He said: "Hoover knew about it and didn't recall it. It's happened to me so I know it happened at least once. It's just staggering.

"That's potentially killing someone.

"I phoned them and when I explained what had happened they tried to charge me £200 to get a warranty

"They've changed their tune now."

Hoover have been contacted for a response.

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