A danger lurking in your home: Exploding glass

Reporter: Chris Cifatte
Published: Updated:

FORT MYERS, Fla. – A WINK News investigation uncovers a danger that could be lurking in your home.

Jim and Sherri Newes said they were just minding their business at home one night when they heard a loud explosion. It was not a car crash, gun shot or bomb.

“[It was] like a 357 magnum going off maybe? I mean it was just huge,” recalled Sherri Newes. “Just this huge crash-type explosion and we couldn’t imagine what it was.”

Turns out, it was her glass table top on her dining room table that had exploded.

CEO and managing partner of D3 glass in Fort Myers, Doug Daubmann, explained why tempered glass is used for products in our home.

“Tempered glass is a safety glass,” he said. “It’s used as a precautionary for people’s health. Any glass that’s inside of a residence that’s 18 inches or above and stands upright has to be tempered by law.”

When regular glass breaks, you get big sharp pieces that could do serious harm if they fall on you.

Daubmann said when tempered glass breaks, “the glass is held together… it breaks in little particles that will fall down and not act as a guillotine. It will give you small little cuts but it’s better than losing an arm.”

So what causes the tempered glass to explode?

“When glass is made from a flow process it has nickel sulfide added to it,” explained Daubmann. “When we temper the glass and heat it to 1200 some odd degrees, the nickel sulfide will expand and if it happens to be in the center of the glass when it gets cooled, this is when it could cause a problem down the road. It could happen at any time.”

While the spontaneous breakage could happen at any time, it is also very rare and impossible to detect.

“Since we’ve been doing this four years, we’ve probably seen it once or twice,” said Daubmann.

We checked on the federal government’s Safer Products website and found 19 reports of glass exploding in the last six months, nationwide. Most of the cases involved tempered glass shower doors.

“Don’t get me wrong, tempered glass is safe. It’s scary [when it does break] at first, but it’s not going to take an arm or anything. You’re going to get these little cuts but it’s better than plate glass,” said Daubmann.

As for the Sherri and Jim Newes, despite their scare, they still say they want to keep their table, just replace the glass.

Because the Newes’ bought their table 4-and-a-half years ago, the store they bought it from does not carry it anymore. However, the store offered to let them pick out a new table.

Since the Newes’ did not want a new table, the company agreed to give them $150 in cash to go toward a new glass table top and a store credit of $250 to replace the rug the Newes’ said was ruined after the glass broke.

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