London Fire Brigade reveals result of extensive enquiry into tower blaze
London Fire Brigade has confirmed that a faulty Indesit tumble dryer subject to a safety notice was the cause of a huge Shepherd's Bush tower block blaze, after a painstaking six week investigation.
Following their initial attendance at the scene, fire investigators said they believed the tumble dryer was behind the August blaze, which seriously damaged part of the 18-storey high rise block and took 120 firefighters to bring under control.
The Brigade's extensive investigation has now concluded that "all the physical evidence in the flat clearly indicated that the fire had started in the tumble dryer".
It also found "the physical evidence corroborated witness accounts that the fire had started in the dryer", as well as other evidence that "showed an engineer had been due to visit the property to carry out modifications".
Following the completion of the final investigation report, and as part of the Brigade's Total Recalls campaign, which aims to make white goods safer, fire chiefs have renewed their call for the dryer's parent company Whirlpool to change its advice(opens in a new window) to consumers.
Whirlpool still maintains that people may continue to use the affected dryers while they are waiting for them to be modified, so long as they are not left unattended.
The Brigade strongly disagrees and is urging anyone with one of the models in question to immediately unplug the machine and stop using it.
London Fire Brigade's Director of Operations Dave Brown said: "This fire has highlighted just how dangerous faulty white goods can be.
"Disappointingly though, Whirlpool have still not changed their advice to consumers.
"Following the conclusion of our investigation we are now appealing once again for them to change their advice and bring it into line with our own.
"Thankfully there were no serious injuries in the Shepherd's Bush fire but we may not be so lucky if it happens again.
"It was vital that we conducted such a robust and systematic investigation to get a clear picture of what happened.
"Following an exhaustive examination of the scene and the remains of the appliance by our specialist fire investigators we remain satisfied the cause was the faulty dryer."
The brigade says that to make sure it came to a robust conclusion, its exhaustive six week investigation into the Shepherd's Bush fire left no stone unturned to ensure all other possible causes were eliminated.
Fire investigators, specialist scientific advisers and a fire investigation dog were all used to determine exactly where the fire started.
Forensic investigations were carried out at the scene and in a specialist laboratory, where the remains of the dryer were examined. Information was also gathered from witnesses.
All possible ignition sources were identified and examined, including comparing the remains of the heavily fire damaged appliance with one that was undamaged.
Further details about the investigation process can be found in the Brigade's summary of findings.
Hammersmith MP Andy Slaughter, who last month secured a debate in Parliament on the fire risk from faulty tumble dryers, said: " Now that the London Fire Brigade has confirmed what everyone suspected, that this is yet another fire caused by defective Whirlpool tumble dryers, the manufacturers must act immediately to take these dangerous machines out of use.
"If they will not change their advice and tell customers to stop using the dryers and step up their repair and replacement programme, the Government must force them to do so. It is time our consumer rights minister stood up for the safety of the public. I and MPs from all parties are meeting this month to press this issue."
Hammersmith and Fulham Council Leader Stephen Cowan meanwhile has issued a safety letter to residents and said: "Whirlpool, are refusing to back London Fire Brigade’s calls for people to immediately stop using these machines.
"As a council, we cannot stand by and allow another fire like the one in Shepherds Bush to happen. That’s why we are working with London Fire Brigade to get this safety advice out to residents across the borough.
"Whirlpool’s lack of action with these faulty washing machines is a scandal. It has even been raised in the House of Commons. While others will rightly continue to lobby Whirlpool to take responsibility and show some leadership on this issue, we will continue to assist our residents as best we can."
London Fire Brigade is inviting residents to join its Total Recalls campaign is calling for changes that will make white goods safer and stop fires like this ruining lives. You can find out more about the campaign here.
You can find out if your product is subject to a product recall or safety notice here.
If it is, London Fire Brigade's advice is to stop using it immediately.
September 19, 2016