Hundreds of fires caused by dangerous tumble dryer design fault

More than 5million faulty tumble dryers can still burst into flames and remain a ‘real fire danger after they’ve been fixed’

  • 5.3million dryers under the Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit contain design fault
  • The dangerous fault that has caused at least 750 household fires since 2004 
  • The issue was made public in 2015, but MPs have warned that, even with efforts by Whirlpool to repair the appliances, up to a million are still to be modified

Tumble dryers at the centre of a fire warning can burst into flames even after being ‘fixed’, it is claimed.

Some 5.3million dryers under the Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit brands had a design fault that has caused at least 750 household fires since 2004.

Manufacturer Whirlpool began a huge operation to modify the dryers, ensuring that fluff from the cycle did not come into contact with the heating element.

Some 5.3million dryers under the Hotpoint, Creda and Indesit brands had a design fault that has caused at least 750 household fires since 2004 (stock image)

However, there have been a series of reports of the machines catching fire despite apparently being fixed.

The issue was made public in 2015, but MPs have warned that, even with efforts by Whirlpool to repair the appliances, up to a million are still to be modified.

BBC Watchdog Live spoke to Vicki Mudge and her sister-in-law Jemma Greenslade who had to drag a burning tumble dryer, which had been modified, out of their flat.

Miss Greenslade said: ‘You do trust them to think they are fixing something so it is going to be OK. It is disgusting really.’ They said that, as they lived in a block of flats, the fire could have been a risk to their neighbours.

In January 2016, a fire broke out in a tumble dryer at a home in south-east London just four hours after an engineer had carried out a fix.

Domestic service engineer Graham Watkinson, who has worked with electrical appliances for more than 40 years, believes the modification carried out by Whirlpool’s engineers does not totally remove the risk.

Deputy assistant commissioner at the London Fire Brigade, Charlie Pugsley, said: ‘There is going to be a time delay between the modification and the fires occurring so if we are starting to see one or two, I would imagine it is only going to get worse.

In January 2016, a fire broke out in a tumble dryer at a home in south-east London just four hours after an engineer had carried out a fix (stock image)

‘Each fire has got the potential to do huge damage to someone’s home and risk lives.’ Labour MP Andy Slaughter represents Shepherd’s Bush in West London, where a tower block fire was blamed on one of the Whirlpool tumble dryers which had not yet been modified.

He said: ‘I am really worried that people now think that the problem is solved – that they can go out, go to sleep and leave machines on – because they have been modified or replaced, but actually there is still a real danger that they could catch fire.’

Whirlpool has previously advised against leaving dryers unattended, and told users to clean the lint filter after each cycle.

The company said: ‘We have total confidence in the modification. Extensive testing and analysis of the modification both before and since its implementation has shown it provides an effective solution for the issue.’

It added: ‘There have been no reported incidents where the modification has shown to be ineffective.’

Whirlpool promised consumers with an affected appliance that it could be fixed within a week if the firm was contacted immediately. 

 

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