Fire Brigade warns more people could die in white goods fires

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More people will die in fires caused by faulty white goods - such as tumble dryers - unless the Government takes urgent action, fire chiefs have warned.

The London Fire Brigade said that in the wake of the Grenfell Fire and following a series of devastating white goods fires in the capital over the past six years, the Government have yet to introduce any safety recommendations.

The call for action also comes one year on from a blaze caused by a faulty Indesit tumble dryer which spread through homes in a tower block in Shepherd’s Bush.

Now London Fire Brigade, the Mayor of London and other campaigners have written to Prime Minister Theresa May demanding action before more people lose their lives.

The brigade says one fire a day in London involves white goods, and June’s tragic fire at Grenfell Tower was started in a fridge freezer in a flat on the lower floor.

Between 2010 and 2016 there have been nine fire deaths and 298 injuries as a result of fires involving white goods in London.

Life-saving action

London Fire Commissioner Dany Cotton said: “What the Government needs to do to save lives is clear. London’s fire crews go to around one fire a day involving white goods, and it’s only a matter of time before there is another tragedy.

“How many more devastating white goods fires do there have to be before the Government makes it easier for consumers to check whether their fridges and freezers are on the recall list?

“Worse still, the second hand white goods market is under regulated and there is little to stop people buying kitchen appliances which pose a serious fire risk.

“We also want business to step up and change how some fridges and freezers are manufactured. All new refrigeration and freezing appliances should have a non-combustible backing as standard.

“Many models still use a flammable plastic backing, which offers very little protection against the foam inside catching alight if a fire starts.

“This is not the time for further reports and recommendations, it’s time to take action.”

Mayor speaks out

Joining the call for a government response is Mayor of London Sadiq Khan, who said: “The Government’s delay in implementing these recommendations is simply inexcusable.

“With on average one white goods fire every single day in London, if an item is on the official ‘recall’ list, this information must be easily accessible so these fires can be prevented.

“The terrible tragedy at Grenfell Tower in June is a stark reminder of just how devastating a fire caused by faulty white goods can be.

“Now, a year since the tragic fire in Shepherd’s Bush which led to these important recommendations, the Government and manufacturers must urgently act to help prevent any further tragedies and keep Londoners safe.”

The Brigade has made a series of recommendations calling for action to make white goods safer as part of its Total Recalls campaign.

A coroner at the inquest of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah, who died after saving his wife and two children from a fire which was caused by a faulty Beko fridge freezer a their Harrow home, recommended a series of measures to improve product recalls in 2014.

However, the Fire Brigade say the changes are also still to be made.

London Fire Brigade’s recommendations include a single, publicly accessible register of product recalls, with international recalls to be included on the UK recall register, and for recalls to be better publicised to reduce confusion.

They have also called for greater regulation of secondhand appliances, changes to the way fridges and freezers are manufactured and for all appliances to be marked with model and serial number.