‘A kid to us:’ After losing dog, family wants you to make sure your dehumidifier isn’t on this recall list

CEDARBURG -- If you've been concerned about water or humidity in your home, you're probably running a dehumidifier night and day. A Cedarburg family who almost lost it all has a warning: Do so at your own risk.

"Having something like this was just unbelievable," said James Erlauer.

Dehumidifier fire in Cedarburg

On Aug. 31, Erlauer was walking into his home, and as he stepped inside, "the smoke just bellowed out towards me."

While away at work, a fire started in the basement.

"Started calling for my dog, because that was the first thing that came to my mind, and realized it was pretty bad, so I closed the door back up and called 911," said Erlauer.

When the smoke cleared, the family discovered a faulty dehumidifier was to blame. A recalled part inside the unit is what investigators believe was the cause.

Dehumidifier fire in Cedarburg

"He said it's not uncommon for something like this to happen," said Erlauer.

Bubba, the family dog, tragically died.


"He was like a kid to us. We've had him for eight-and-a-half years," said Ann Erlauer.

In an effort to turn this tragedy into something positive, the family used social media to spread a message -- sharing their story, and turning it into an awareness campaign named after their beloved pet -- called "Bubba Barks Back."

"That's our way to get our recall links out there. It's already been a success. To even find one other family that found this is a success to us," said Ann Erlauer.

So far, the family says 16 others across the country said this story helped them prevent a fire of their own -- learning their dehumidifiers were recalled too.

"The loss of our pet was probably the worst. As far as the house and the belongings inside, it's all replaceable items," said James Erlauer.

The Erlauers want you to check your equipment to make sure it's not on the recall list.

To learn more about the "Bubba Barks Back" campaign, or to take a look to see if your dehumidifier has been recalled -- CLICK HERE.

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