Hotpoint dryer blamed as the likely case of flat fire

Denbighshire coroners court has concluded that a Hotpoint tumble dryer was the most likely cause of a flat fire which sadly killed two men in Llanrwst in October 2014.

A survivor of the flat fire, Gary Lloyd Jones, told the hearing that on the night of the fire he saw flames coming from the tumble dryer.

The Assistant Coroner found that the fire was likely caused by an electrical fault inside the door of the dryer. The Assistant Coroner, David Lewis, also expressed concerns about the evidence gathered by Whirlpool, the owners of the Hotpoint brand, and dismissed one potential cause proposed by a Whirlpool expert as ‘fanciful’ and ‘unlikely’.

Though we do not yet know the model number of the Hotpoint tumble dryer, we do know that it is one of the dryers affected by the safety notice issued earlier this year following our application for judicial review.

Our Managing Director of Home Products and Services, Alex Neill, said:

‘In the face of the tragic deaths of these two men, Whirlpool can no longer continue to ignore its responsibility for the safety of its customers and must now conduct a full product recall of the potentially lethal tumble dryers in people’s homes across the country.

‘This tragic case shows once again that the product safety system is broken and is potentially putting lives at risk. The government must create a national body that can get unsafe products out of people’s homes.’

Taking action

We are writing to the coroner to request that he produces a ‘Preventing Future Deaths’ report. This kind of report is produced following an inquest when there is a risk of future deaths happening in a similar way.

We will also be contacting the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy to call for a full-product recall of the Hotpoint dryer at the centre of this tragedy.

The government has been too slow to respond to serious incidents – and subsequent reviews – following product-related fires. We want to see urgent changes to the UK’s product safety regime, including the creation of a new national body designed to take control of dangerous situations as they arise and get products out of people’s homes quickly.