Spontaneous combustion... of shower doors

    11:30 AM, Jun 12, 2012   |    comments
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    Des Moines, IA (CBS/KCCI) -- Have you ever heard of a glass shower door exploding? While it is rare, it could happen to you! This actually happened to two Central Iowa families in the past week.

    It's a rare phenomenon that not many people have heard of, glass shower doors exploding on their own. But as one Central Iowa Woman describes it, it sounded like an explosion went off in her bathroom.

    Teresa Albertson says, "It shot out six out feet from the bathroom."

    Teresa Albertson explains how her glass shower exploded into a million pieces Saturday. It went from a normal tempered glass door to shards in seconds. Albertson's children say they heard the explosion from their rooms. Her daughter Aspen says, "You could tell that it wasn't really a falling sound. It was more of an exploding sound so you could tell that it didn't fall. It burst."

    No one was in the bathroom at the time. Teresa says, "I never heard of it and then when we started looking at it online there are instances of this."

    Doug Sassman with Sassman Glass says, "They call it spontaneous breakage. They actually have a word for it."

    In his 32 years in the business Sassman says he has only seen this happen a handful of times. He says it's rare, but he actually had another customer come in last week saying her shower door exploded as well. He says, "They were sitting out in the living room and just heard a pop. She went in to look and see and it was already all over the ground."

    He says there is not much of an explanation for why it happens. He says it has nothing to do with a flaw in the glass or installation error. Sassman says, "If it was chipping or scratching or flaws all the tempered would break."

    To demonstrate how hard it is to break tempered glass he hit a piece of glass several times. When it finally did shatter, you can hear the tiny pieces popping. That's because during the tempering process the glass crystallizing on the inside. This makes it safer so it can knick you, but not cut you severely.

    Either way, Albertson says the explosion is still scary. Teresa says, "I was disturbed that we didn't know about the possibility of this happening. We're just lucky that no one was using the shower or in here for another reason at the time."

    Sassman says this has nothing to do with the manufacturer because this has happened to glass doors from several different companies. He says he is replacing his customer's door with no charge.

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