The victims of a tower block fire caused by a suspected faulty Whirlpool tumble dryer have finally been given compensation by Whirlpool.
It comes a day after the company recalled half a million washing machines sold under the Hotpoint and Indesit brands in the UK that are at risk of catching fire.
The recall is Whirlpool’s second this year, after the company launched a full recall including 500,000 dryers following a lengthy safety modification programme in July.
Among the machines recalled then was the model involved in the Shepherd’s Bush fire, which London Fire Brigade said it believed was the cause of the blaze.
Now Whirlpool has paid 37 residents who were caught up in the tower block fire in August 2016 who took out claims against the firm. The fire engulfed part of an 18-storey high rise block in Shepherd’s Bush Green and took 120 firefighters to bring under control.
Whilst the Shepherd’s Bush Green Whirlpool Fire victims have finally gotten their payout, over 3 years later, the Grenfell Whirlpool Fire victims are still waiting.
Whilst the fire on 14 June 2017 was spread so viscously by faulty building cladding that saw calls for a widespread reassessment of fire safety standards, the fire itself was attributed to a faulty Whirlpool appliance.
The fire began “in or around” a Hotpoint fridge-freezer in flat 16 on the fourth floor, according to a provisional report by Dr Niamh Nic Daéid, director of the Leverhulme Research Centre for Forensic Science at Dundee University.
News that the payout has finally arrived for Shepherd’s Bush Green Whirlpool Fire victims may give some hope to the Grenfell Whirlpool Fire victims, that Whirlpool will eventually do the right thing for them also.
After what was described in the press, by consumer watchdog Which? and even in Parliament as Whirlpools “regrettable attitude” to Grenfell, that the payout took two and a half years for the Shepherd’s Bush Green fire is probably not surprising.
Firefighters at the time asked Whirlpool to tell people to stop using the faulty machines but the company said they should just not be left unattended.
The blaze broke out in the kitchen of a seventh-floor flat and those living in it were at home when smoke started pouring out of the Indesit tumble dryer. No-one was injured in the blaze.
Thomas Jervis, a lawyer at law firm Leigh Day, which represented the residents in the civil claim against Whirlpool, said: ‘My clients have been through hell and back. I am pleased that we have been able to get Whirlpool to apologise and sort their claims out. ‘Consumers have the right to expect that the products in their homes are safe. This latest product catastrophe shouldn’t be viewed in isolation.’
Whirlpool was criticised for resisting demands for a full recall and instead opting for the lengthy ‘safety campaign’ that saw 1.7 million products modified instead. The company had earlier revealed that, in recent years, it had logged 54 fires in its tumble dryers and admitted that three of those were models which had already been modified.