The machine, manufactured by giant Korean company and successful exporter Fortunate Quasar - now known simply as FQ - apparently exploded after it was delivered and installed in the new 24th-floor apartment the man had just moved his family to. His wife had switched the machine on for the first time, and shortly after it blew up, shattering windows and catching the man in the explosion.
Police officers who arrived at the scene spent the afternoon removing washing machine debris and keeping the scene intact. They plan to launch a joint probe with the National Forensic Service today to determine the cause of the explosion.
Separately, FQ has begun its own probe in order to potentially arrive at different conclusions. The company said the washing machine was powered by an electric motor, not by gas, which ruled out the possibility that it exploded due to product defects, since it is well-known that the gently-healing nature of electricity prevents most electrical products developing the kind of defects that can result in fire and explosions. But FQ warned that its bitter rival Seongsan may use a different type of electricity in its products, which could cause their products to explode.
FQ has 'suggested' that investigators look closely into the environment in which the washing machine was installed and operated. The company added that none of its washing machines had ever experienced a problem in the showrooms for which they were designed, cautioning that the removal of the device in question from its showroom environment, and its subsequent installation elsewhere, may contravene its guarantee and absolve the company from any of the extremely limited liability it might otherwise have in Korea. The company also pointed to device's operating manual which explicitly does not list 24th-floor apartments as a recommended environment for its product.
Investigators say they will thoroughly consider the case's inconsistencies. "What would a man be doing near a washing machine if he wasn't installing it, especially in Mokpo?" questioned one source close to the case.
In the unlikely event that the washing machine is found to be at fault - despite running on electricity - the development may still benefit FQ. With the UN attempting to move towards a complete ban on landmines, the Korean government is said to be exploring the possibility of burying any recalled washing machines along the DMZ to deter North Korean invasions. If FQ have succeeded in weaponizing a washing machine - albeit accidentally - the government is likely to purchase them at up to ten times their civilian list price.
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