London Apartment Block Fire Started From A Fridge Freezer
Nine days after fire killed at least 79 people at a London apartment block, police are saying that the fire started in a fridge freezer.
London police investigating the fire incident said on Friday that the outside cladding engulfed by the blaze had since failed all safety tests.
Investigators said they would consider bringing manslaughter charges over the disaster and had already seized material from a number of undisclosed organisations.
Detective Superintendent, Fiona McCormack, said experts had now concluded the fire, the mostly deadly blaze in London since World War Two, had started in a Hotpoint fridge freezer (WHR.N), model FF175BP, which had not been subject to any recall.
Insulation And Aluminium Tiles Not Acceptable
The blaze has provoked anger and heaped pressure on Prime Minister Theresa May, who is fighting for her political survival after her party lost its parliamentary majority in a snap election at a time when Britain is beginning divorce talks with the European Union.
The speed at which the fire engulfed the 24-storey Grenfell Tower raised questions about the external cladding on the block.
Asked if the insulation and aluminium tiles used were acceptable for such buildings, McCormack told reporters: "No they're not.
"All I can say at the moment is they don't pass any of the safety tests. So that will form part of what is a manslaughter investigation."
Britain ordered an immediate technical examination of the Hotpoint fridge model to establish whether further action should be taken, but said there was no need for owners to switch off their appliances.
"We are working with the authorities to obtain access to the appliance so that we can assist with the ongoing investigations," said Whirlpool Corp, the world’s largest maker of home appliances which owns the Hotpoint brand in the Europe and Asia Pacific regions.
In the United States, the brand now belongs to Haier, following the Chinese group’s purchase of General Electric Co’s (GE.N) appliance business.
According to Reuters, the company said 64,000 such fridge freezers were made by Indesit between 2006 and 2009 when the model was discontinued, some years before Whirlpool acquired Indesit.
The fire has acted as a focal point for anger at local authority funding cuts and, if more buildings are deemed unsafe, the government faces the task of rehousing people within existing social housing facilities which are stretched.
The government said it was urgently conducting tests on some 600 high-rise buildings in England which have exterior cladding, often added to insulate them or improve the external appearance of aging blocks. Some councils have begun removing the panels.
Grenfell Tower, in north Kensington, west London, had undergone an 8.7 million pound ($11 million) refurbishment which was completed in 2016, but residents of the more than 120 apartments had complained about its fire safety.