An Indesit tumble dryer is believed to have caused the fire at Shepherd’s Court in Shepherd’s Bush on Friday 19 August, the London Fire Brigade has confirmed.
Thankfully, no one was seriously injured in the fire, which destroyed two flats and severely damaged two more. It resulted in 26 homes being evacuated and around 20 families having to be housed in temporary accommodation by Hammersmith & Fulham Council.
The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is now urging residents to check if their appliance is one of several models which were subject to recent manufacturer’s safety notice and if so, halt use immediately.
In a press release issued today (Friday 26 August), LFB say:
London Fire Brigade is urging people to immediately stop using tumble dryers that are subject to product recall or safety notices following a huge tower block blaze in Shepherd’s Bush on Friday.
Fire investigators say the blaze which ripped through the 18 storey high rise and took 120 firefighters to put out was believed to be caused by a faulty Indesit tumble dryer which was subject to ‘corrective action’ by the manufacturer and due to be attended by an engineer.
The Brigade, which recently launched its Total Recalls campaign to improve white goods fire safety, now want the dryer’s parent company, Whirlpool, to change their current advice to consumers as a matter of urgency. This says: “You may continue to use your tumble dryer whilst waiting for the modification, however, we require that you do not leave your dryer unattended during operation as an extra precaution (i.e. do not leave the house or leave the dryer on whilst asleep).”
H&F Council has reacted by calling on the manufacturers to recall and replace all faulty models immediately.
“There are clearly concerns about these appliances and we share the LGA’s view that more needs to be done to protect consumers from the risks. Anyone with any concerns about their tumble dryer should contact their manufacturer straight away and ask for their dryers to be replaced.”
“For the families who have lost everything in this fire, this has been a terrible, traumatic experience and we are doing everything we can to support them and help them put their lives back together,” says Cllr Sue Fennimore, the council’s social inclusion cabinet member.
H&F Council has immediately ordered a review of all the appliances used in council buildings. It is also writing to all residents and business in H&F to alert them to the dangers and to urge them to check whether their dryers are on the list of models causing concern and take the necessary steps to protect their homes, families and businesses.
The LFB have also concluded that the fire precaution features at Shepherd’s Court played a valuable role in preventing the spread of the fire and in containing the damage.
London Fire Commissioner Ron Dobson said: “If my kitchen had one of the recalled goods in it, I would unplug it straight away until it has been checked and repaired. The speed with which the fire took hold shows how dangerous a faulty tumble dryer can be that’s why we are calling for Whirlpool to urgently change their advice to consumers.
“If your appliance is subject to a safety or recall notice or you think there is something wrong with it our advice is simple. Unplug it immediately and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician.”
Cllr Fennimore added: “I was on the ground in Shepherd’s Bush on Friday evening and over the weekend, and saw first-hand the tremendous response of the London Fire Brigade, other emergency services and local residents and businesses, who responded so brilliantly in extremely challenging circumstances.”
H&F is continuing to house eight families while repairs are made to their flats.