The spin cycle had been going for a bit too long when Sara Van Beck entered the laundry room. But other than the strange, high-pitched noise the washer was making, she had no warning of what would come next.
As KARE reports, Van Beck had put in a load of children’s clothing when she heard an odd sound coming from her Whirlpool Duet washing machine. She told KARE that it wasn’t like the normal noise that you hear during the spin cycle:
This was different. It was a high, howl, whistling noise.
As the mother of five wrote on Facebook, the sound was enough to send her into the room to investigate. But she didn’t get far before the washer exploded, knocking her off her feet:
I got as far as the utility sink and it exploded sending ball bearings and pieces at me. My feet went out from under me and I dropped on our bench and cabinets hitting my head pretty hard.
Van Beck said the washing machine was only three years old and hadn’t been recalled. Other than the strange noise and the longer-than-usual spin cycle, there hadn’t been any sign of trouble. She told KARE:
It did not smell hot. It was not overheating. None of those things were happening. It just basically blew up.
The pieces of the washer operated like, “shrapnel.” Ball bearings were scattered around the room, and the force of the explosion dented the side of the dryer as well.
Van Beck managed to call her husband for help using her Apple watch. He heard her troubled breathing and arrived quickly to take her to the hospital.
Though she suffered a concussion and some problems with her foot and sinuses, Van Beck is just grateful things weren’t worse. She told KARE that it’s frightening to think about what would have happened if one of her children had been standing in front of the machine when it blew up:
It would have been deadly. And that’s what scares my husband and I the most.
That’s why she’s warning parents to be especially careful around the washing machine and kid-proof their laundry area. As she wrote on Facebook:
I urge families to close their laundry room doors when doing laundry and maybe turn off the circuit breaker if they hear issues with it and do not go in front of it.
Since the incident, Van Beck has been in contact with Whirlpool, and the company has agreed to give her a new washer and dryer. She’s also learned that she isn’t the only one who has had a washer explode like this.