When my photographer and I arrived at the home of Dixie Casterline and her husband, Earle Dowden, in Dunbar, Pa, we found what looked like a million of shards of broken glass all over the patio.
On Sunday morning, the glass tabletop on their Martha Stewart patio table had shattered without warning. Instead of cleaning it up, they left the mess where it was so we could see it, out of concern that this might happen to someone else.
Dixie Casterline told me, she and her husband were drinking coffee on their back patio, when the glass tabletop burst into pieces.
"I could see the table from where I'm sitting and it just exploded! It was so loud! And I was completely in shock," said Casterline.
Shards of glass flew as far as six feet away. Casterline told me she is just thankful her grandchildren weren't nearby.
"It would have been a terrible tragedy if those babies were under there," said Casterline.
She had purchased the Martha Stewart patio table about seven years ago at the Kmart in Uniontown. After it exploded, the couple did a quick internet search and found out there is a long history of Martha Stewart tabletops spontaneously shattering.
"It was shocking to me to see how many of these tables have shattered," said Casterline.
In 2005, a class-action lawsuit was filed. A year later, the Consumer Product Safety Commission asked Martha Stewart's company to redesign the table, which they supposedly did, but a recall was never issued.
"It's very dangerous. I don't know why they would continue to sell something like that," said Dowden.
The class action lawsuit was dismissed after a federal court ruled plaintiffs would have to file individually. In 2007, the Chinese company that manufactured the tables filed for bankruptcy, leaving customers without a way to get a replacement.
Experts theorize the tabletop’s glass edge, which is not polished, rubs against the metal frame causing micro cracks in the glass, which eventually cause the tabletop to spontaneously explode.
A spokesperson for Martha Stewart living sent us this statement: "We take product safety very seriously. We provide the aesthetic design for beautiful products. Because we do not oversee the mechanical design, engineering or manufacturing of the products, we require all of our vendor partners to adopt and comply with product safety programs and reviews. If customers have any questions about these particular tables, they should contact Kmart customer relations at 866-562-7848.”