Fridge freezer makers urged to speed up safety improvements recommended after fire that killed Neasden family

The fire in Sonia Gardens was the worst in London in more than a decade (credit: PA/Anthony Devlin)

The fire in Sonia Gardens was the worst in London in more than a decade (credit: PA/Anthony Devlin) - Credit: PA Wire/Press Association Images

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) is calling for fridge and freezer manufacturers to speed up safety improvements on their appliances and potentially save lives.

LFB have been lobbying the industry to make their fridges and freezers more fire resistant for the last three-and-a-half years following a number of deaths caused by faulty appliances.

According to LFB seven people have died and 71 seriously injured since 2010 including a family-of six from Neasden.

In September 2011, Muna Elmufatish 41, daughters Hanin Kua, 14, Basma 13, Amal, nine, and sons Yeha, two, and Mustafa, five, died at a fire in their home Sonia Gardens.

The blaze was described by LFB as “the worst fire in a decade”.

Basma and Yehya Kua died in the blaze

Basma and Yehya Kua died in the blaze - Credit: Archant

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North London Coroner’s court heard the fire was caused when a capacitor inside a chest freezer in the hallway failed and caught alight.

The victims died as a result of inhaling the fumes.

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Mrs Elmufatish’s husband and the father of her children Bassam Kua and their daughter Nur, who was 17 at the time, were the only survivors.

Coroner Andrew Walker said at the time he would be issuing a report to various industry bodies regarding the materials used to house types of capacitor, with the intention of alerting the industry to risks and to reduce the likelihood of this kind of tragedy ever happening again.

The family died a year after Santosh Benjamin Muthia was killed in a fire in his flat two miles away in Harrow which was also caused by a faulty fridge.

Coroner Walker also presided over the inquest into his death

LFB have renewed an appeal for the industry to ensure the backs of fridge freezers are made of non combustible or fire retardant materials as standard.

Rita Dexter, LFB’s deputy commissioner, said: “Every home has a fridge or freezer and the chances are it will be plugged in and working safely for years but it is no exaggeration to say that they are potentially the most dangerous household appliances if they are involved in a fire.

“Putting a simple non-combustible or fire retardant covering at the back of appliances is a relatively simple change that manufacturers can make and one that we believe would reduce the number of injuries, and potentially deaths, caused by fires involving fridges and freezers.”

Related link: Coroner rules Whirlpool freezer caused Neasden house fire that killed mother and her five children

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