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Exploding glass becomes scary at-home phenomenon

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(PIX11) -- Shattering glass happens in an instant and is one of the most frightening sounds to hear -- and for a number of homeowners with glass products, it’s happening without warning.

For Noreen Hartnett, she was setting up for a summer barbecue at her home in North Arlington, New Jersey, when her outdoor glass table suddenly exploded all over her yard.

“We turned our back for a second and 30 seconds, a minute, after, glass was shattering into a million pieces,” she said.

Hartnett said the explosion was so loud, her neighbors heard it inside their home.

Frighteningly, Harnett is not alone. The Consumer Product Safety Commission found glass objects -- from tables to shower doors and kitchen appliances -- are unexplainably shattering.

A new mom, Limor Suss was using her slow-cook Crockpot to make a chicken dish when suddenly, it shattered.

“It perfectly shattered,” Suss said. “Once I moved the handle, it all came collapsing down.”

In the video above, listen to an expert from Entry Systems NY explain how to identify the safest glass for your home.

Drew Gagnon, owner of Mahopac Glass in Westchester, said in both of these cases, tempered safety glass -- a stronger glass that is meant to be safer -- was used.

It’s supposed to be safer because of how the glass behaves when it explodes -- namely, into millions of tiny pieces.

Gagnon said he receives a few calls a year for exploding glass, a phenomenon that cannot be predicted at all. So why then is it happened?

Gagnon said microscopic imperfections during the manufacturing process could eventually grow for days, months and years -- long after a customer buys the glass product. The crack is so small, customers likely wouldn’t even notice -- that is, until the glass bursts.

The tempered glass is designed to go everywhere, but not as sharp shards. It’s quite the cleanup.

PIX11 News reached out to Crockpot because there are dozens of other cases similar to Limor’s listed online, but the company seemed to blame the customer.

“Our analysis has indicated that the lid was most likely damaged inadvertently (e.g., dropped, chipped, exposed to thermal shock, etc),” the company said in a statement.

They didn’t acknowledge the hundreds of other customers who said their lid exploded and issued no recall on the product. But they did send Limor a new lid, which she said she’ll use.

As for Hartnett, it seems she’s done with glass tables.

“I went out and bought an iron table because I was so scared of that happening again,” she said.