College student on a mission to warn families of possible hidden dangers in their homes

Author: CBS News
Published: Updated:
Sophia Meranda and her dog, Bubba. (Sophia Merand via CBS News)

A warning from the government about a possible hidden danger in your home.

College student Sophia Meranda is on a mission to warn families across the country.

“I don’t think anyone thinks this is something that would happen to them,” she said.

A fire broke out in her family’s basement in 2018 when a dehumidifier spontaneously lit on fire.

No one was home except for the family dog, Bubba, who died from smoke inhalation.

“Definitely a big part of our family and was just definitely a big shock to know that he was gone; it is really sad just to talk about it,” Meranda said.

What her family didn’t know is the maker of the dehumidifier had recalled their machine, and millions like it, because of the fire danger.

“It’s a very, very difficult problem indeed,” said Joe Martyak, director of communications at the Consumer Product Safety Commission.

He says his agency announces a recall about 300 times a year, but around 90% of the public never returns the product, often because they just don’t know about it.

“We have over 15,000 categories of products that we have jurisdiction over. It touches everyone’s lives in some way, whether it’s clothing or furniture or children’s products and toys, sports equipment, electronic equipment,” he said.

You can go to to see which products are under recall. You can also sign up for notifications.

When you buy a new product, it’s important to register it with the maker and provide your contact information.

“It’s so important because when a re-call happens the manufacturer can notify you,” Martyak said.

Meranda started a Facebook page called “Bubba Barks Back” warning about the recall danger.

“That’s why we’re trying to get the word out,” she said, “is to help other people at this point.”

She wants to prevent another family from going through what she did.

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