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'Russian roulette' warning over faulty tumble dryers

Fire authorities have said faulty tumble dryers should be recalled urgently after figures showed they are attending three fires a day caused by "dangerous" appliances.

The Local Government Association (LGA), which represents 48 fire and rescue authorities in England and Wales, said Government figures showed there were 2,190 tumble dryer fires between 2012 and 2014.

The LGA warned that companies running lengthy repair programmes for potentially dangerous machines instead of recalling them are "risking the lives of millions of customers".

The LGA also called for all white goods to have fireproof markings on them which allow identification of the manufacturer, model and serial number.

Manufacturers Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda are in the process of fixing dryers across the UK after parent company Whirlpool notified customers of a widespread safety defect last October.

The fault can lead to excess fluff catching the heating element in the machine and potentially causing a fire.

The LGA said homes had been ruined and, in some cases, the machines had burst into flames as people loaded them with clothes.

Jeremy Hilton, chairman of the LGA's fire services management committee, said: "People using faulty tumble dryers are unwittingly playing Russian roulette. Leading manufacturers need to recall affected models as soon as possible to protect their customers.

"Firefighters are attending tumble dryer fires three times a day, which is alarming. These defective products are endangering lives, causing thousands of pounds of damage to homes and making people homeless.

"People's safety must be the priority. It's been months since some manufacturers issued safety warnings over their tumble dryers but they need to be recalled as these appliances are still causing fires. Until they do so, consumers continue to risk falling victim to a devastating and tragic house fire."

The LGA urged people to clean out the compartment where fabric fibres build up after every drying load to reduce the risk of it igniting, and said the vent or any other opening should not be covered.

It also warned that the machines should never be left on overnight, or while no-one is at home.

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