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Maker liable for 10-year-old fridge fire

Kimchi – Korea’s national dish

KOREA: A Korean refrigerator manufacturer has been ordered to pay compensation for a fire caused by a 10-year-old fridge.

According to reports in the Korea Observer, a kimchi refrigerator manufactured by Dayou Winia Co short-circuited in 2014, causing a fire and damaging three houses. No casualties were reported.

Kimchi refrigerators are designed specifically to meet the storage requirements of kimchi, Korea’s national dish, a fermented cabbage. The no1 household appliance in Korea, kimchi fridges are specially designed to be colder, with more consistent temperature, more humidity, and less moving air than a conventional refrigerator.

Seoul Central District Court ruled in favour of an insurance company, which filed a suit against the refrigerator manufacturer seeking compensation for the US$37,000 it paid to the victims.

The fridge maker, however, claimed that it is not responsible for a product sold more than 10 years ago but the court disagreed, stating that it was not a socially accepted notion to assume that a kimchi refrigerator could cause a fire after being used for 10 years. It also said that out of the 22 cases of fires that were started by kimchi refrigerators with more than 10 years of use, 20 were made by the defendant.

The court ordered the manufacturer to compensate the insurance company 50% of the amount claimed.

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