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Beko Tumble Dryer Inquest

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An inquest held regarding a Beko tumble dryer that went on fire in Birmingham and is allegedly the cause of a fatality has been held.

Beko appliances new logoWhilst as yet there is no specific outcome we thought it was worth mentioning this after a report in The Telegraph was pointed out in the forums with all the concerns surrounding tumble dryers and safety presently.

Please note that at this time there is no specific recall, safety notice or cause for alarm over these Beko tumble dryers

The inquest is investigating the death of a Mishell Molony who is reported to have become overwhelmed by carbon monoxide and fumes from the fire the happened on February 7th.

The investigation determined that the origin of the fire was in or around the control module of the tumble dryer. It is important to note however that as we read through the reports it became quite apparent that this was not definitive and that the exact cause is still not known.

We were a bit miffed when we read that as, we don’t sell a lot of Beko dryer control modules at all and, they don’t seem an especially popular item for the trade in normal repair work either which would usually tend to indicate that they are not especially a problem. You’ll always get some being replaced but it’s not a common part to use at all.

Similarly Beko said the control module had never been identified as a problem either nor identified as a cause in any previous fire incident which, it turns out, there’s been twenty that we know of.

Please understand however that until the cause of each incident is fully investigated it is not possible to lay blame with Beko or the user and also that in most cases of dryer fires it is down to poor user maintenance as a cause from our experience. So jumping to any conclusions either way is highly inadvisable without evidence to support any comment.

In this instance though Andrew Mullen told the inquest that there were 38,000 of this specific model sold in the UK and that the twenty previous instances had been largely in relation to the run capacitor. We’d think that actually means what we and others may refer to as the mains interference filter as that was altered some time ago with supplies of the older type completely unavailable for a couple of years if memory serves us.

When asked why the tumble dryers were not recalled Mr Mullen said that, "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 went on to say that “over 80%” of those were when the dryer was used in an outbuilding, something that this site warns people about repeatedly and strongly, see the tumble dryer safety tips and also the installation notes for tumble dryers in the Buying Section for more advice that applies to all tumble dryers.

Mr Mullen said of this specific incident that, "This is very tragic incident, but it's an isolated incident which, despite the fact we know on the balance of probabilities it was caused by the tumble dryer, we still don't know what caused it."

This seems to be backed up by fire investigator James McDonald who said that, "There had been a small fire located within the kitchen. On closer examination there appeared to be what was a tumble dryer set within the kitchen next to a washing machine. It was a localised small fire and, in my experience, a relatively small fire."

"Although it was a small fire, it completely destroyed the tumble dryer."

He found washing hanging on the stair banister and clothing in the washing machine and said that, "The hypothesis I used at the time was that the washing machine was halfway though, as if some problem had occurred and she had taken the clothes out and switched it off. It's feasible."

It is also just as feasible that the dryer was running at the time. We will probably never know for certain.

On balance we do not think that the notion of a problem with these dryers can be ruled out as it is of course possible but, the evidence we have from our own experience and the dubiety in the report here certainly doesn’t make it a slam-dunk that there is a problem.

Although this is clearly a tragic incident and it most certainly is, Ms Molony was found upstairs the floor under a duvet which would suggest the machine was on after she went to bed something that you should never, ever do. Leaving appliances unattended is dangerous, another point that we tell people all the time.

A verdict is expected in the coming days.

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