Electrical Safety First statement about the initial cause of the Grenfell Tower fire

23 June 2017

Following confirmation by the Metropolitan Police Service that the Grenfell Tower fire was caused by a faulty fridge freezer, Phil Buckle, Chief Executive of Electrical Safety First commented:

“While the Metropolitan Police are still investigating why this tragic fire spread so quickly, we know that fridge freezers, along with other large white goods, are a major cause of fire in UK homes. From figures provided by fire services in England, over the past six years there has been an average of four fires a week caused by faulty fridge freezers.

 “Government’s advice  to anyone who owns a Hotpoint fridge freezer model number FF175BP (white) or FF175BG (grey) is that they should call Whirlpool Corporation’s freephone hotline on 0800 316 3826 or visit www.hotpointservice.co.uk/fridgefreezer to register their details for further updates. We encourage anyone who owns this appliance to contact Hotpoint at this point.

 “We would urge anyone else who is concerned about their fridge freezer to check our advice at electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/fridgefreezers

Top Tips for Fridge Freezer Safety:

Always register a new fridge freezer with the manufacturer. That way you can be contacted easily if a safety recall is required. The government website on product recalls, which will be updated should further action on the product be necessary, can be found at www.gov.uk/productrecall.

  1. Check that your fridge freezer has a UK plug, but if it doesn’t, do not use a UK travel adaptor, but rather have the retailer fit the fridge freezer with a UK plug.
  2. Do regular checks of the plug and socket for burn marks, sounds of ‘arcing’ (buzzing or crackling), fuses blowing, circuit-breakers tripping or if it feels too hot to touch.
  3. Ensure your home is fully protected by an RCD or residual current device, which can be found in your fuse box (also known as a consumer unit).  An RCD is a life-saving device that protects against dangerous electric shock and reduces the risk of electrical fires.
  4. Sometimes, appliance fires are caused by something beyond your control. Smoke alarms are essential in keeping you safe in the event of a fire. There should be a minimum of one smoke alarm per floor and fit enough alarms to cover all areas where a fire could start, and make sure they are tested regularly. If a fire does start, don't try to fight the fire. Get out and call 999 immediately.

 Top Tips for Safe Use:

  • Always ensure that the area you are placing the fridge freezer is free of paper or other flammable materials, and make sure there is enough room behind the appliance for air to circulate freely.
  • Don’t connect a fridge freezer to the electricity supply until all packaging has been removed.
  • Never block the interior or exterior ventilation openings of the refrigerator.
  • Make sure you don’t trap the mains cable beneath the fridge freezer when putting it in position.
  • Don’t use the fridge freezer outdoors or anywhere it is likely to come into contact with the elements.
  • Don’t place a fridge freezer near cookers, radiators, or in direct sunlight, as this will result in it having to work harder to maintain the required internal temperature.
  • Defrost your freezer at least once a year to ensure these appliances continue to work properly. Do not use a heater to defrost the inside of the fridge freezer.

For more tips about fridge freezers visit: electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk/fridgefreezers


For more information please contact:

Muireann Kirby T : 020 3463 5105 E : muireann.kirby@electricalsafetyfirst.org.uk  

Notes to Editors:

Fire statistics for England are accessible at: https://www.gov.uk/government/collections/fire-statistics-great-britain

-          1598 fridge freezer fires from 2010- 2016

-          308 out of 1598 (19.27%) fridge freezer fires were in flats since 2010

-          283 fatalities/casualties because of fridge/freezer fires since 2010

-          1476 fridge freezer fires since 2010 were caused by faulty appliances