Inquest finds Beko fridge-freezer caused fatal fire

According to kitchen blog KBB Daily, the inquest into the death of 36-year-old father of two, Santosh Benjamin Muthiah, on 13th November 2010 has found that the fire that killed him was caused by a Beko fridge-freezer. The fault in the appliance was found to have been caused by an overheating defective defrost timer and it is reported that up to 500,000 fridge-freezers manufactured between 2000 and 2006 could be affected.

The court heard how Beko had been made aware of the fault in some of its components as far back as 2003 but failed to act, and in June 2010 London Fire Brigade warned Beko that some of the fridge-freezers posed a risk. However, affected products were not recalled until after Mr Muthiah’s death.The coroner recommended that manufacturers failing to recall products should face far tougher penalties, including a possible prison sentence of up to two years and substantial fines. He also called for a national online database to be set up for consumers to read about and report safety problems with appliances. Those concerned about the safety of a Beko model should visit refsafety.beko.co.uk.It has also emerged that Beko is facing fines of over £300,000 and is being prosecuted by Hertfordshire trading standards for 69 alleged safety breaches. It is due to appear in court in November.

This is a shocking but not surprising development considering Beko, which makes a fifth of all white goods sold in the UK, had said it believed the risk of failure was low and offered a free at-home modification to remove the faulty part/s. Little consolation to Muthiah family and the other 11 deaths that were linked to these faults, as reported in March 2013, when the news made the headlines, and was referenced in our previous post of Safety alert over 138,000 faulty Beko appliances.