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GE recalls 2.5 mln dishwashers, citing fire hazard

CHICAGO (Reuters) - General Electric Co. GE.N is voluntarily recalling 2.5 million built-in dishwashers made from September 1997 to December 2001 because of fire hazards, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission said on Wednesday.

The recall was the second large dishwasher recall in the United States this year, following by a few months a recall announced by Maytag of 2.3 million dishwashers also because of potential fire hazards, according to commission records.

GE in the first quarter set aside a $76 million reserve to account for the recall, as well as other items.

A GE spokeswoman declined to say what percentage of the company’s dishwasher sales the recall representing, only that it was “not the majority.”

GE has received 191 reports of overheated wiring, including 56 reports of property damage, but no injuries, the commission said.

The commission said liquid rinse-aid could leak from the dispenser on the GE dishwashers into the internal wiring of the dishwasher, possibly causing electrical shorts or overheating.

The recall covers various GE built-in dishwashers sold under the Eterna, GE, GE Profile, GE Monogram, Hotpoint and Sears-Kenmore brands.

The dishwashers were made in the United States and sold for about $400 at department and appliance stores. GE is offering free repair or rebates toward new GE dishwashers. Consumers can reach GE toll-free (877) 607-6395 or at www.geappliances.com.

In February, Maytag, a Whirlpool Corp. WHR.N unit, recalled about 2.3 million Maytag and Jenn-Air brand under counter or portable dishwashers after reports of short-circuit fires caused by leaks from liquid rinse-aid dispensers.

A GE spokeswoman said the two recalls were unrelated.

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