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Warning over tumble dryers after London high-rise blaze

“The flat’s occupants had a terrifying ordeal.”

Updated 30 August

LONDON FIRE BRIGADE (LFB) has warned people to check the safety of tumble dryers after one caught fire and caused a massive blaze in a high-rise building.

The fire ripped through an 18 storey high-rise in Shepherd’s Bush last week, with 120 firefighters needed to quell it.

London fire investigators believe it was caused by a faulty Indesit tumble dryer which was subject to ‘corrective action’ by the manufacturer. It was due to be seen by an engineer.

They recommend all appliance owners check if their equipment is subject to a recall by using websites such as this one of the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission.

The fire brigade has called on Whirlpool, Indesit’s parent company to change their current advice to consumers as a matter of urgency.

Their advice is:

”You may continue to use your tumble dryer whilst waiting for the modification, however, we require that you do not leave your dryer unattended during operation as an extra precaution (i.e. do not leave the house or leave the dryer on whilst asleep).”

Source: sirens999sirens/YouTube

LFB wants this changed because they say they attend “nearly one fire a day involving white goods”.

“While there is a fire risk people should not use their appliance until it has been checked and repaired.”

London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said:

If my kitchen had one of the recalled goods in it, I would unplug it straight away until it has been checked and repaired. The speed with which the fire took hold shows how dangerous a faulty tumble dryer can be that’s why we are calling for Whirlpool to urgently change their advice to consumers.

“The flat’s occupants had a terrifying ordeal.”

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In a statement, Whirlpool said:

Our thoughts are with all those affected by this incident. The cause of the fire is currently unknown and we will assist London Fire Brigade in any way we can as they investigate. We are looking into the circumstances surrounding the fire as a matter of urgency. As investigations are currently ongoing, we are unable to comment further at this time.

The company said that the safety of its customers is its number one priority, and it is “committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the modification programme is being carried out in a safe and timely manner”.

It described the scale of the modification programme as “considerable” and said it is “continually looking into alternative options which will allow us to progress the programme at a faster pace and are working hard to improve our response time”.

To this end, we continue to recruit extra engineers and call-centre staff to speed up the modification programme. Since the beginning of the modification programme, we have increased our team is of engineers by over 50% to more than 1,500 engineers. To date we have already contacted 3.6 million consumers and over 1.5 million customers have registered for a free modification and we have resolved over 750,000 cases.

Consumers can continue to use their affected dryer whilst waiting for the modification, said Whirpool, but it requires that consumers do not leave their dryers unattended during operation as an extra precaution.

Additionally, consumers should check and clean the filter after every cycle and ensure proper dryer venting, as directed in the original operating manual.

Whirlpool urges everyone who owns an Indesit, Hotpoint or Creda tumble dryer manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015 to check if their dryer is affected and then register for a free modification if it is.

They can do this using the model checker on the following websites: https://safety.hotpoint.eu/ and https://safety.indesit.eu/, or the dedicated freephone helpline on 0800 151 0905 for the UK or 1800 804320 for Ireland.

- Additional reporting Aoife Barry

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