London

Shepherd's Bush tower block fire caused by faulty tumble dryer

Tumble dryer that caused Shepherd's bush tower block fire Image copyright LFB
Image caption The faulty tumble dryer was in the kitchen of the seventh floor flat

A faulty tumble dryer is believed to have sparked a fire that led to people evacuating an 18-storey tower block in west London, firefighters have said.

The blaze in the block of flats in Shepherd's Bush Green on 19 August caused damage across five floors.

The tumble dryer had been recalled by its maker and was due to be inspected.

London Fire Brigade wants manufacturer Whirlpool to ask people to stop using faulty machines but the firm said they should just not be left unattended.

Image copyright Remi Lefevre
Image caption Up to 120 firefighters tackled the blaze in the tower block

The fire started in the kitchen of a seventh-floor flat in Shepherds Court.

The occupants were at home when smoke started pouring out of the Indesit tumble dryer and they alerted fire crews.

People in the flat and four other flats affected by the fire have been rehoused.

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 flat's occupants had a terrifying ordeal. The kitchen quickly became smoke logged and thankfully they noticed the smoke and quickly left the flat and called the brigade. This decision could have saved lives."

'One fire a day'

The fire brigade said it wanted Whirlpool to change its advice as "a matter of urgency".

"We want this change because we attend nearly one fire a day involving white goods," it said in a statement.

The brigade said it was dangerous if people went out and left machines unattended when there was a danger of fire but also that if they were home and a fire broke out, lives would be at risk.

A statement from Whirlpool said its own investigation was continuing and the company had contacted 3.6 million consumers who own an Indesit, Hotpoint or Creda tumble dryer manufactured between April 2004 and September 2015. It said engineers had resolved 750,000 cases.

It added: "Consumers can continue to use their affected dryer whilst waiting for the modification.

"However, we require that consumers do not leave their dryers unattended during operation as an extra precaution."

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