England

Beko tumble dryer model 'behind 20 fires'

Mishell Moloney Image copyright PA
Image caption Mishell Moloney was discovered at the home in Coriander Close

A defective model of tumble dryer caused a house fire which killed a mother of two, a coroner has ruled.

The same type of Beko dryer that led to Mishell Moloney's death was responsible for 20 other fires, Birmingham Coroner's Court heard.

But none had the same defect thought to have caused the blaze that killed the 49-year-old in Rubery in February.

Beko said the "risk of injury was low" in other incidents. Coroner Emma Brown recorded a narrative verdict.

Blackened with soot

The company's director of quality, Andrew Mullen, was asked by the coroner why Beko had not decided to recall the 8kg DCS 85W model.

He said: "We looked at the number of incidents against sales, the severity of the incidents and circumstances, and in all those assessments they were all incidents that happened within 10 or 20 minutes of the tumble dryer being used.

"Nearly all those were when the tumble dryer was in unheated buildings such as a shed or outhouse. In those cases the risk of injury was low."

He added the model was discontinued last year "as part of a range change".

Ms Moloney was discovered at her home in Coriander Close, Rubery, after relatives found window blinds blackened with soot and forced their way in.

An investigation found the fire started in or around the area where the dryer's printed circuit board (PCB) was.

'Family needs answers'

The coroner said it was her conclusion the death was due to smoke inhalation from a fire caused by the tumble dryer in her kitchen and the source within the dryer was the PCB.

But she said it was "not possible to identify the nature of the defect which caused the fire".

Beko said "in virtually all cases" the identified cause of blazes traced to the model had been "the run capacitor" and never the PCB.

Mr Mullen said a decision not to recall the model was taken after a risk assessment and consultation with trading standards.

He revealed two smaller models (the 6kg and 7kg) had been recalled because of 100 incidents of reported faults with the capacitor, "within the first three months".

After the hearing, Ms Moloney's daughter Jodie said: "My mum was quite simply the best mum my brother Joshua and I could have asked for."

The family's lawyer Paul Tapner, of Slater and Gordon, said the family "needs answers from the manufacturer".

After the inquest, Mr Mullen said safety was its "highest priority" and the product involved "remains completely safe for use, meeting and exceeding all European standards".

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