Mary Cody was awakened about 5:30 a.m. on March 3 by the harsh tones of a smoke detector blaring in her Aberdeen home.
Opening the door to her husband’s “man cave,” Cody saw 4-foot flames rising from a DVD player that hadn’t been turned on since 2018.
“We have not used this thing, we have not touched this thing and there was no power surge,” she said. “It just caught on fire.”
Cody was able to extinguish the blaze, but not before it caused an estimated $5,000 in damage. The flames charred a nearby wall and destroyed a Bose audio receiver, along with the small wooden table where the DVD player had sat dormant for the past two years.
A sales receipt shows that Cody’s husband bought the player in May 2016. He paid $24.99 for the device.
The Insignia player, model NS-D160A14, was distributed by Best Buy. No recalls have been announced by the retailer, but Cody said she’s forwarded information about the fire to a representative for the company.
Cody, who lives in the 100 block of Memory Lane, said her homeowners’ insurance should cover the damage. The DVD player was not plugged into a surge protector, but Cody doesn’t believe that would have prevented the fire.
“A surge protector would not have protected this,” she said. “The flames were coming out of the back of the box.”
Investigators from State Farm Insurance and the Aberdeen Fire and Rescue Department both agreed that the fire was sparked by the player, according to Cody.
“I want to make everyone aware that this can happen, so you need to unplug your DVD players when they’re not being used,” she said. “If I wasn’t in the house, the house would be gone.”
In 2009, the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission announced a voluntary recall of about 1.5 million Durabrand DVD players. The recall followed a dozen reports of the players, which were distributed by Walmart, overheating, with five of the faulty devices sparking fires that caused property damage.