Couple kicked out of rental after Kmart appliance explodes: 'No empathy'
A woman has shared photos of the extensive damage caused by a Kmart air fryer and described the real estate agent's response as lacking empathy.
A Queensland couple is homeless after a Kmart appliance exploded in their rental property, leading to their lease being terminated and them given just 72 hours to leave.
Last Thursday when Lexi Partell's partner Max was home, their Kmart air fryer suddenly "burst into flames" despite not being turned on.
"It was less than a minute before he couldn’t see anything in the house, and the floors are very slippery because of the ash," she said on TikTok. "(He) did what he could to stop the fire, and then made the call to leave and call triple-0."
A photo of the kitchen shows the far-reaching damage the three-year-old 5.3 litre air fryer caused when it "caught fire". The appliance was not on but was plugged into the wall.
"You can see on the roof here that it's really black," the woman explained in the TikTok. "That’s throughout the whole front section of our house, everything is black. And then the back section, the smoke has reached all the way back and it's on every single thing."
"We have no home now and our stuff is damaged, but (Max) did get out alive."
Queensland couple forced to move out within three days
Now the couple must navigate another hurdle — being 'displaced' by their real estate company and finding a new place to live.
Ms Partell said they were given 72 hours to leave after being emailed a 'Notice to Leave (Form 12)' on Tuesday on the basis of 'non-liveability'.
"We need to find a new place to rent, a place for the four-bedroom house worth of stuff to go, and I quote directly from the email: ‘the lawns and gardens are attended to by the day of handover'," the woman said. "Oh and an exit report."
"We’re renters and rely on our owners to have insurance and have this fixed."
Fire threatens residents outside Melbourne: 'Too late to leave'
She slammed the real estate company's lack of "empathy" over "something that (they) did not intentionally do".
"I understand that you are running a business, but when one of your tenants goes through something life threatening and has trauma off the back of it — because Max hasn’t slept since that day — try to put yourself in their shoes," she said.
"A little humanity doesn’t go astray."
Kmart investigating air fryer explosion
The Kmart air fryer has been sold since 2019 and has a 4.9 rating by reviewers on the company's website.
A Kmart spokeswoman told Yahoo News Australia the company is taking the report "extremely seriously" and are looking into it.
"The safety of our customers and team is our number one priority," she said. "We have reached out to this customer directly so that we can begin a proper investigation and offer our support.".
The couple are also waiting for a report from the "fire station" to determine the cause.
What to do if there's a fire in your house
According to Queensland Fire and Emergency Services, when making your escape from a house fire, you must:
Crawl beneath the flames to try avoid breathing in toxic fumes and smoke
Feel doorknobs and avoid opening if they're hot
Go to the closest exit
Run across the street or as far as you can to safety
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