Yet more evidence has been heaped onto the already scandalous events unfolding with Whirlpool and its Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda branded appliances in regards to fire safety as an inquest has found that an electrical fault in the door of a Hotpoint tumble dryer was the most likely cause of a deadly fire that killed two men in a flat in the Welsh town on Llanrwst on the 10th October 2014.
According to the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service, assistant coroner David Lewis found that the fire having started in the dryer was “more likely than all other theories put forward by experts combined”.
A joint investigation by the North Wales Fire and Rescue Service and North Wales Police also found that the fire “had been caused by a fire involving a tumble dryer”, while further investigation conducted through a specialist appointment by an insurance firm also found a potential fault with the tumble dryer.
Bernard Hender, 19, died at the scene of the fire while Douglas McTavish, 39, died later in hospital, North Wales Fire and Rescue Service said, while a third man, Gary Lloyd Jones, 48, suffered from smoke inhalation but escaped from the incident.
“The conclusion of this inquest today has highlighted concerns surrounding the safety of tumble dryers,” said Paul Jenkinson from North Wales Fire and Rescue Service. “Our own statistics show that we are called to deal with fires involving tumble dryers on average between two and three times a month.”
Consumer group Which? has responded to the inquest’s conclusion, with home products and services managing director Alex Neil noting that Whirlpool “can no longer continue to ignore its responsibility for the safety of its customers” and calling on the company to conduct a full product recall “of the potentially lethal tumble dryers in people’s homes across the country”.
“This tragic case shows once again that the product safety system is broken and is potentially putting lives at risk,” Neil said. “The Government must create a national body that can get unsafe products out of people’s homes.”
Responding to the inquest findings, Whirlpool said: “First and foremost, we extend our profound condolences to the families and friends of Bernard Hender and Douglas McTavish. Safety is always our number one priority. We treat all incidents extremely seriously and we have a robust process that continuously reviews the safety of all our products. We will carefully review and consider the coroner’s findings in this case.”
What is shocking is that whilst much of the KBB (kitchens, bedrooms & bathroom) industry and the various news and blog sites focused on the sector are giving Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda dryers and in turn (brand owner) Whirlpool a somewhat easy ride, yet more and more adverse news keeps piling on the already growing issue, which Whirlpool whilst saying they are concerned with safety are doing very little action.
Consumer Champion Which? reported that since 2004 Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda dryers had been the cause of more than 750 fires, and yet despite this, the line of communication coming from Whirlpool was that it was a new and developing issue [when it broke in November 2015] and not something that has been developing for more than 10 years?
It is one thing to not recall a tumble dryer over a faulty door release mechanism when the issue is about getting clothes stuck in your machine but when the door of your appliance can catch fire and kill you is it not time to act?
Met Police state Grenfell fire fridge-freezer was a Hotpoint FF175BP model
In a statement Hotpoint said: “Words cannot express our sorrow at this terrible tragedy. We offer our most profound condolences to the victims, those who have lost loved-ones, homes, and possessions, and to their friends and families. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved, including the emergency services who risked their lives to extinguish the blaze and rescue those in the building.
“We have just been informed that the fire may have originated in a Hotpoint fridge-freezer (model number FF175BP). We are working with the authorities to obtain access to the appliance so that we can assist with the ongoing investigations. Under these circumstances, we are unable to speculate on further details at this time. We are addressing this as a matter of utmost urgency and assisting the authorities in any way we can. We will provide additional updates as our investigations progress.
“Consumers who believe they may have a Hotpoint fridge-freezer model number FF175BP or FF175BG should call our freephone hotline on 0800 316 3826 or visit hotpointservice.co.uk/fridgefreezer so that we can register their details and contact them with further information.”
Fire Safety Scandal
Having consumer safety at the forefront of what you do doest result in 750 plus incidents of fire and a number of deaths as a result Whirlpool so stop trying to play down the scale of the issue and address the problem because the later you leave it and the bigger it gets the harder the penalty will be when it catches up to you!
Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda tumble dryers included in the fire safety alert