Maytag is recalling 1.6 million defective Maytag refrigerators that officials say pose a serious fire hazard because of electrical failure that can cause overheating. According to this MSNBC News report, the Newton, Iowa-based company is recalling the defective products because of an electrical failure in the relay. Maytag officials say the component that turns on the refrigerator’s compressor can overheat and cause serious fires. So far, Maytag has received 41 reports of refrigerator relay ignition, including 16 reports of property damage ranging from smoke damage to extensive damage.

This recall includes some of Maytag, Jenn-Air, Amana, Admiral, Magic Chef, Performa by Maytag and Crosley brand of side-by-side and top-freezer refrigerators. The fridges included in this recall were apparently manufactured in black, bisque, white and stainless steel. For more information about the list of model numbers and brands included in this recall, please visit the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commissions Web site. The refrigerators were manufactured in the United States and were sold in department and appliance stores as well as by homebuilders nationwide from January 2001 through January 2004 for between $350 and $1,600.

If you believe you own one of these defective Maytag refrigerators, please call Maytag to schedule a free in-home repair. Consumers are asked not to return the fridge where they purchased it. For more information, call Maytag at 1-866-533-9817.

This is obviously a serious product defect issue. Thankfully, so far there have been no reports of these appliance fires causing any serious burn injuries or deaths. But as we have seen, these defective appliances have caused numerous instances of property damage and loss to consumers. I think that Maytag dragged its feet here in waiting almost four years to issue this recall.

If you or a loved one has been injured by these or other defective products, please immediately consult a reputed product defect law firm that can fight for your rights and secure the justice and compensation you rightfully deserve. Manufacturers of dangerous and defective products must be held accountable for their negligence and wrongdoing.