The fire seems to have started in a bundle of wires within the door. They were at a flex point that would have been stressed every time the door is opened or closed. This strikes me as a basic design flaw. The dishwasher was only 4 years old. We bought it shortly after we moved into this house, and it was professionally installed.
Our particular model was not included in this Recall of Built-In Dishwashers. However, from the description of the problem, I think that what happened to us is what the recall was all about.
You know, I still shudder to think of how quickly we could have lost the kitchen, if not the entire house! And you know, the dishwasher is one of those with the 'delay start' cycle. That, to my mind, is an implied warranty of safety, that you shouldn't have to be standing there watching the machine wash your dishes.
We left a message for our home owner's insurance. I don't know if this is covered or not, but I think that they should be notified. I don't know if we will get a bill for the fire department turn-out. If so, I hope that insurance will cover it.
John talked to a person at GE yesterday. She gave him the phone number for the proper persons who should be notified of this, and they will be in on Monday.
We went to the appliance store yesterday. It is overwhelming what the choices are - and it is difficult to decide. The thing that is clear to me is that I don't want one with plastic based construction. The smoke from just a short fire had me wheezing pretty bad the next day. I also would like to avoid the main cause of dishwasher fires, which is the heating element for the dry cycle. Those two factors automatically bump the price up to the $700 and above range - and I hadn't been planning to buy anything in that price range anytime soon.
The other factor is a more philosophical one - if we are going to be in this house for another 5 years or more, it is probably worth it to spend a little more. But if we are likely to leave anytime soon, we would be leaving behind that investment, and probably would not recoup it in the sale price. Only if it were part of an overall kitchen remodel would it even be a sales point.
Meanwhile, I am doing the dishes by hand. We have put a cardboard 'floor' over the holes where the hoses and wires were, and the cats have been enjoying sniffing around the ex-dishwasher space. I suppose that I could just put a cabinet in there and go back to the hand washing all the time!