Fatal fire causes authorities to review safety regime for white goods

Tuesday 23rd September 2014 09:30 EDT
Santosh Benjamin-Muthiah

Beko, one of the world's biggest manufacturers of white goods, which was under scrutiny after one of its fridge-freezers caused the death of a 36-year-old man in November 2010. Santosh Benjamin-Muthiah, father-of-two, died in a blaze caused by toxic fumes coming from the fridge-freezer in his house. Andrew Walker, the coroner at North London coroner’s court, is due to record a verdict on Friday.

The safety regime of white goods faces an overhaul following his death. Santosh died as he tried to rescue his daughters, aged three and three months, from the family home. They survived but he did not.

In 2008, Beko was warned of a 'serious risk' from its fridge-freezers that could cause injury or death, but failed to order a recall. Benjamin- Muthiah had a Beko fridge-freezer.

A public register of white goods is due to be launched by the Association of Manufacturers of Domestic Electrical Appliances (Amdea) to trace potentially defective products.

The London Fire Brigade reported that in the last 12 months they attended 60 fires in the area, of which 15 were of Beko units, 20 of other makes and 25 unknown.

Beko says 492,035 fridge-freezers were at risk and 412,735 have been modified or scrapped. It said it supported plans to enhance consumer-data collection and improve the effectiveness of product recalls.

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