WHIRLPOOL admitted, when grilled by a Parliamentary committee yesterday, that as many as 800,000 recalled dryers known to be prone to sparking potentially lethal house fires are still in homes across the UK.
In June, the government said it would issue a recall notice of up to 500,000 dryers which pose a fire safety risk.
But when pressed by MPs on the Business Committee, company executives admitted yesterday that the number of unmodified machines could be higher.
A fault in Whirlpool machines was blamed for at least 750 fires over an 11-year period, the government said.
Whirlpool said it had logged 54 fires in its tumble dryers in recent years, three of which were in machines which had been modified.
Charlie Pugsley, deputy assistant commissioner at the London Fire Brigade, said his service had seen a wide range of faults causing fires in machines that had already been modified.
The London Fire Brigade have launched a campaign called: ‘Total Recalls – campaign for safer white goods.’
The LFB said: ‘With nearly one fire a day in London involving white goods, the Brigade has launched the Total Recalls campaign to make it easier for people to protect themselves from potentially lethal faulty appliances.
‘Tumble dryers, washing machines, fridges and freezers can all cause electrical fires. Sadly we attend many fires – some of them fatal – caused by faulty electrical appliances.’
In fact, it was a Whirlpool fridge which sparked the horrific Grenfell fire two years ago, which resulted in the deaths of 72 men, women and children.
Survivors and families of those who died in the Grenfell fire are taking Whirlpool to court in the US.
Arconic, the company who made the flammable insulation, and Rydon, responsible for the making of the flammable cladding, are also being sued by the Grenfell families.
Meanwhile, a specialist burns unit that treats children injured by fire has shut down.
This means that children who sustain severe burns in Kent, Surrey and Sussex will be treated far away in Essex or central London from next month.
The Trust that runs the Paediatrics Burns Services at Queen Victoria Hospital (QVH) in East Grinstead claims the specialist unit has become ‘unsustainable’.
In a statement, QVH said: ‘We are working with the ambulance service to ensure that from 1st August these children who require a hospital stay will be assessed at their local acute hospital, as they are now, and then transferred to the specialist burns centres at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford and in Chelsea and Westminster Hospital in London.’
When children are inured in a fire it is absolutely essential that they receive immediate treatment, so doctors, nurses and patients alike are rightly extremely concerned that the extra distance that they now have to travel will have a detrimental effect on their recovery.