UK: The UK government has ordered an immediate examination of the fridge freezer confirmed today as the source of the Grenfell Tower fire in London earlier this month.
The announcements were made after the Metropolitan Police revealed that a Hotpoint FF175BP fridge freezer was the initial source of the Grenfell Tower fire which destroyed 151 homes and left 79 presumed dead.
In a statement, Whirlpool, Hotpoint’s owners, said: “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. 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.”
The fridge freezers affected – model numbers FF175BP (white) and FF175BG (graphite) – were manufactured between March 2006 and July 2009. Now discontinued, it is estimated that 64,000 models were manufactured.
Consumers who believe they may own one of the affected models have been asked to call Whirlpool Corporation’s freephone hotline on 0800 316 3826 or visit www.hotpointservice.co.uk/fridgefreezer to register their details for further updates.
The government says that at this stage there is no specific reason for consumers to switch off their fridge freezer pending further investigation.
Customers have been told to expect further updates from the manufacturer about the action it will take in relation to this product and are advised to follow standard safety advice, not overload plugs, ensure sockets are not damaged and check cables and leads are in good condition.
Greg Clark, secretary of state for the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “The safety of consumers is paramount. The device is being subject to immediate and rigorous testing to establish the cause of the fire. I have made clear to the company that I will expect them to replace any item without delay if it is established that there is a risk in using them.”
The fridge freezer manufacturer said: “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.”
Business minister Margot James is said to have written to trade associations representing all major household appliance manufacturers last week outlining the government’s expectation of action by their members should a household appliance be found to have played a part in the Grenfell Tower fire.
People with concerns about product safety can also call the Citizens Advice consumer service line on 03454 04 05 06 or our helpline on 0300 123 1016. The government website on product recalls, which will be updated should further action on the product be necessary, can be found at www.gov.uk/productrecall.
Fridge safety standards must change – 25 June 2017
COMMENT: The Grenfell Tower fire will undoubtedly have far reaching consequences for the way we live, the way we construct and renovate our buildings and the way we deal with fires in high rise buildings. Read more…