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Inquest finds electrical fault in tumble dryer caused fire deaths

Coroner gives a narrative conclusion into the deaths of two men, who died in a blaze at their flat in North Wales caused by an electrical fault in a tumble dryer

1 September 2017

An inquest into the deaths of Doug McTavish, 39, and Bernard Hender, 19, has concluded today that an electrical fault in a Hotpoint tumble dryer caused the fire that led to their deaths.

In his narrative conclusion, the Coroner said: “On the balance of probabilities the fire was caused by an electrical fault in a tumble dryer in the laundry room at the flat.”

The inquest was held over five days from 19 to 21 April 2017 and then on 15 and 16 August 2017 at Abergele Town Hall, North Wales.

The Coroner returned the conclusion today (1 September 2017).

Mr McTavish and Mr Hender died on 10 October 2014 following a fire in their flat in Llanrwst, North Wales.

The inquest heard that on the evening of 9 October 2014 Mr Hender had been out for a meal with his partner Garry Lloyd Jones, who also lived in the flat, and when they returned at around 12.30am Mr McTavish was in bed.

When Mr Lloyd Jones woke at 6am the next morning the flat was filled with smoke. He got up to investigate and saw flames coming from the tumble dryer.

He managed to escape the flat and call the emergency services but Mr McTavish and Mr Hender did not manage to find a way out.

The inquest heard that the model of tumble dryer in the flat, which was manufactured by Whirlpool, was subject to a safety notice relating to a potential fire risk regarding a build-up of lint in the machines.

However, the safety notice was not in place at the time of the fire and the Coroner concluded that the fire was caused by an electrical fault in the dryer.

The inquest also heard evidence that the fire could have been caused by a fault with the door switch of the dryer. However, the Coroner in his conclusion did not specify the source of the electrical fault that caused in the fire.

Thomas Jervis, solicitor at law firm Leigh Day, who represented the families of Mr Hender and Mr McTavish as well as Mr Lloyd-Jones, said:

“There is clearly a serious safety risk in relation to the manufacture and regulation of white goods in this country and we urge the Government to implement the actions that were called for last month by the London Fire Brigade.”

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