herald

Tuesday 21 October 2014

Why fridges are lethal in a house fire

TOUGHER safety standards for modern fridges and freezers have been called for after they were found to be the most dangerous household appliance when involved in a blaze.

Experts said the items were of particular concern because they contain large amounts of plastic and highly flammable insulation, which can cause large fires that spread quickly and highly toxic gases.

The report into blazes which are started by electricity or in electrical appliances follows a fire last year that began behind a chest freezer and resulted in the deaths of six people.

According to the report, drawn up by the London Fire Brigade, fridges and freezers built in recent years contain more plastic than older models, but the highly flammable insulation is not separated from the parts of the appliance where a blaze can start.

Figures suggest that one in every five fires involving fridges or freezers resulted in someone being injured.



Tragic

The LFB said it wanted to see tougher safety standards for the flammable insulation.

The company's deputy commissioner Rita Dexter said: "Almost every home has a fridge or freezer and the chances are it will be plugged in and working safely for years.

"Unfortunately, on rare occasions some problems do occur and the result can be a big fire with potentially tragic consequences.

"This is why it's so important to make sure that if a fire involving a fridge or freezer does start, it doesn't spread.

"London Fire Brigade wants to see tougher standards so that the highly flammable insulation in fridges and freezers is better protected from fire.

"In the meantime, our advice is that if people notice any strange noises coming from their fridge or freezer, they should call the manufacturer or an electrical repair expert immediately."

hnews@herald.ie

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