Popular iron blamed for house fire; reports of others from same manufacturer

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A home in Eastborough was damaged by fire in a laundry room on Monday afternoon. Fire investigators with the Wichita Fire Department found an iron to be the likely cause.

Investigators say the iron was used about an hour before the fire started, and an automatic off feature did not engage. “Generally, the devices we have now have several safeties in them. But they are designed by man; they can still fail,” said Battalion Chief Stu Bevis.

“Then [investigators] started looking at possible ignition sources…. The one thing they could not eliminate was the iron that the occupant was using, just prior to leaving the home,” Bevis added.

Bevis noted the Rowenta iron has multiple reports of malfunctions which lead to fires, as reported online on various forums.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission has 46 reports of Rowenta irons malfunctioning and either sparking, catching fire or running when they are supposed to be off.

“CPSC plans to contact the Wichita Fire Marshal for more information,” a spokesperson for the Consumer Product Safety Commission told KAKE News.

The manufacturer released this statement on the iron in question and the fire:  “The safety of our consumers is of the utmost important to Rowenta. We take this allegation seriously and are working to ascertain a clear understanding of the incident.”

There are no recalls on Rowenta irons, although Bevis said if a recall is issued, consumers need to pay attention.

“Pay attention when you see something on the news or internet that there was a recall or caution or warning. Whether it was on a vehicle or an appliance.... you want to see, does this affect you or something that you have,” Bevis said. “This  happens more often than you would think."

Monday's fire caused an estimated $65,000 in damage, according to firefighters. No one was injured.

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