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Eight house fires a week caused by faulty white goods

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Faulty fridges and tumble dryers are among the common household items causing more than eight fires in UK homes every week.

The inquiry into risks from faulty electrical items has been sparked by the Grenfell Tower fire, which killed 71 people and is believed to have been started in a Hotpoint fridge-freezer.

However, consumer group Which? said Government action was falling “woefully short”, and challenged ministers to produce a plan within 90 days.

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The Grenfell fire sparked an investigation into the risks from faulty electrical goods

Fire data showed that faulty washing machines and tumble dryers were the most high-risk appliances in the home, causing 35% of fires over a two-year period.

Cookers and ovens, dishwashers then fridges, freezers and fridge-freezers were also listed as high-risk, all causing around 10% of fires in the same period.

One of the “immediate steps” the consumer group want the Government to tackle are the estimated one million faulty Whirlpool tumble dryers still in UK homes.

Dozens were killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze
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71 people were killed in the Grenfell Tower blaze

Fluff catching on a heating element in dryers has been blamed for 750 Whirlpool dryer fires since 2015, and a door mechanism fault is believed to have started a fire which killed two men in Wales in 2014.

But despite knowledge of the defects, ministers have been accused of dragging their heels in modifying or replacing the faulty dryers.

Which? called the UK’s product safety regime “antiquated” and local government safety campaigner Simon Blackburn called for “an easily accessible, comprehensive database of recalled products”.

Burnt out tumble dryer. (file pic)
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Burnt out tumble dryer. (file pic)

In January a new Government office was set up tasked with assessing product safety and standards.

A Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy spokesman said the Office for Product Safety and Standards “will help better identify consumer risks and manage responses to large-scale product recalls and repairs.”

Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee (BEIS) committee chairwoman Rachel Reeves welcomed the work being done, but said the office must have “real teeth” in order to achieve “a reduction in the number of fires that blight so many homes and put lives at risk.”


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