The Government has urged manufacturer, Whirlpool, to do more to help customers with allegedly dangerous tumble dryers after an investigation found one of the defective machines was responsible for a serious fire in a tower block.
Fire chiefs say a faulty Indesit model was the cause of the blaze in an 18-storey block in West London, which took 120 firefighters to extinguish. More than 100 families had to be evacuated, but thankfully no one was seriously injured.
The fire in August is among a series of incidents involving faulty tumble dryers from Indesit’s parent company Whirlpool, with a family left homeless due to their machine catching fire.
London fire brigade is now calling for the manufacturer to change its advice to consumers as a “matter of urgency” as part of the brigade’s Total Recalls campaign, which aims to make white goods safer.
Whirlpool is in the process of replacing or repairing more than five million potentially faulty machines across the UK, under the brand names Indesit, Hotpoint, Creda and Proline.
The Government’s consumer minister, Margot James, told the Guardian: “Customer safety must be the number one priority for manufacturers. I acknowledge that Whirlpool are making great efforts to modify and replace at-risk machines, but I believe additional action is required to reassure customers and the public. I will be writing to the company to set out my concerns and expectations.”
Whirlpool said in a statement: “While we understand that London fire brigade has concluded its investigation into the incident, Whirlpool’s independent forensic investigations are still ongoing and in the circumstances, it would be inappropriate to comment further.
“The safety of consumers is our number one priority and we are committed to doing everything we can to ensure that the tumble dryer modification programme is carried out in a safe and timely manner.
“We continue to cooperate fully with the relevant regulatory authority (Peterborough trading standards) as progress is regularly monitored and reviewed.”
Owners of Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit large air-vented dryers and condensing dryers have been warned not to leave machines running overnight or when they are out of the property. They are also advised to remove any fluff or debris from the filter after every use.