Fire es­cape

Firm says faulty ma­chines are safe

Rutherglen Reformer - - Front Page - Edel Ke­nealy

A fam­ily have spo­ken of their lucky es­cape when their Hot­point wash­ing ma­chine went up in flames.

Julieanne Spence and her three chil­dren were at home in Cam­bus­lang when the tum­ble drier caught fire, but the com­pany in­sist they are safe.

A mother whose three chil­dren were at home when her Hot­point tum­ble dryer went up in flames says she is out­raged the man­u­fac­turer is ad­vo­cat­ing the faulty ma­chines are still safe to use.

Julieanne Spence and her three chil­dren were at home in Cam­bus­lang on Jan­uary 5 when the tum­ble dryer caught fire ap­prox­i­mately 20 min­utes af­ter it had been turned on in the de­tached garage.

The fire started at ap­prox­i­mately 6.50pm and had gut­ted the garage within min­utes.

Ex­plain­ing she was alerted to the fire af­ter a power cut and a burn­ing smell, Julieanne said she couldn’t find the source of the burn­ing at first.

She said: “My in­stinct kicked in and I said to the kids stay in the liv­ing room be­cause I knew some­thing wasn’t right and then when we re­alised what it was we got them all out.

“It has had a big im­pact on my kids. The el­dest is nine and he says what if we don’t wake with the fire alarm.

“Be­cause of the build­ing work that’s go­ing on now [to re­build the garage] it is re­mind­ing them all about it. He has been ask­ing about fire alarms and how that works.”

Julieanne, who lives with her hus­band David and three chil­dren, aged three to nine, at Colville Close, was un­aware on Jan­uary 5 that her tum­ble dryer was one the 1.3mil­lion that has since been dis­cov­ered to be faulty.

The fault poses a risk to safety be­cause within the ma­chine ex­cess fluff can make con­tact with the el­e­ment, cre­at­ing a fire haz­ard.

Whirlpool UK, which owns the Hot­point brand, in­sists the ma­chines are safe to use whilst it car­ries out a lengthy re­pair pro­gramme. That’s if peo­ple clean the lint fil­ter af­ter ev­ery cy­cle and en­sure proper vent­ing.

The ad­vice how­ever has en­raged Julieanne who says she fol­lowed this ba­sic guid­ance in­cluded in the user man­ual.

She said: “I just think things could have been so much worse and if they don’t do more soon a poor fam­ily could lose more than just their be­long­ings.

“We had the kids in the house and I gen­uinely want peo­ple to know the dan­gers. We did ev­ery­thing we could and that’s how quickly it went up. I would hate it to hap­pen to any­one else.”

Asked why it was con­fi­dent the tum­ble dry­ers could still be used in light of the fire, a spokesman for Whirlpool UK, re­ferred the Re­former to the ad­vice avail­able on the Hot­point web­site.

He said: “As the re­pair pro­gramme pro­gresses, con­sumers can con­tinue to use their tum­ble dry­ers. How­ever, the com­pany urges them to clean the lint fil­ter af­ter ev­ery cy­cle and en­sure proper vent­ing, in ac­cor­dance with the orig­i­nal in­struc­tions for use.

“The com­pany is also ask­ing that con­sumers do not leave their dry­ers unat­tended dur­ing op­er­a­tion (i.e. do not leave the house or leave the dryer on when asleep).”

Peo­ple with con­cerns about their tum­ble dryer can log on to safety. hot­ for more in­for­ma­tion.

Lucky The Spence fam­ily were at home when the tum­ble drier caught fire

De­stroyed The scene af­ter the ap­pli­ance went up in flames

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