Fridge-freezer fire to blame for father's death, inquest rules

A coroner will urge the Government to overhaul consumer safety standards after a father who was able to save his two children died from a fire caused by a faulty fridge-freezer.

The man who died, Santosh Benjamin Muthiah, owned a type of appliance that had caused fires as far back as 2003.

An inquest found that the Beko fridge-freezer caught fire while the family slept.

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Beko safety boss grilled over 'slow' response to fires

A representative from white goods manufacturer Beko said the company would "look at what we need to do" after ITV News Consumer Editor questioned him about the fire risk posed by hundreds of thousands of fridge-freezers.

Beko's UK quality manager Andrew Mullen said the company would review the findings of today's inquest into the 2010 death of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah.

However, he refused to discuss claims Beko had been slow to respond to the issue, after it was first reported as early as 2003.

Beko: We acted appropriately over faulty appliances

Appliance manufacturer Beko says its staff acted appropriately at all times after an inquest ruled one of its faulty fridge-freezers had caused a fire that killed a father of two.

Hundreds of thousands of Beko appliances were thought to be affected by the fault. Credit: PA

In a statement following the ruling, Beko said it had extended condolences to the family of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah and insisted it has sent out thousands of letters, made house calls and placed adverts to try to trace products containing the same faults.

This incident involved a model of frost-free fridge-freezer that has not been in production since 2006. None of our current range of appliances are affected by the issues in this case.

– RAGIP BALCIOGLU, BEKO UK MANAGING DIRECTOR

The company said it is "still working to located any affected older appliances that may be in use".

Anyone with concerns about a Beko fridge freezer can call the company on 0800 917 2018 or see the advice on this Beko website.

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Which Beko fridge-freezers are at risk from fire fault?

Appliances manufacturer Beko has urged anyone with a certain range of fridge-freezers to get in contact over a fault that can cause it to catch fire.

The affected frost-free models were produced between January 2000 and October 2006 and have serial numbers beginning with either 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05 or 06.

The affected Beko fridge-freezer model numbers. Credit: Beko

Beko says it has visited more than 580,000 homes and modified over 197,884 units.

The company estimates 214,851 of the affected 492,000 units are no longer in use. That leaves nearly 80,000 unaccounted for and potentially in homes across the UK.

Anyone with concerns about a Beko fridge freezer can call the company on 0800 917 2018 or see the advice on this Beko website.

Fridge-freezer caused fatal fire while family slept

A coroner will urge the Government to overhaul consumer safety standards after a father who was able to save his two children died from a fire caused by a faulty fridge-freezer.

Santosh Benjamin Muthiah died in 2010.

The man who died, Santosh Benjamin Muthiah, owned a type of appliance that had caused fires as far back as 2003.

An inquest found that the Beko fridge-freezer caught fire while the family slept.

Mr Benjamin helped his young children escape but later died from the fumes.

Coroner Andrew Walker today accepted wide-ranging recommendations put forward by Hertfordshire Trading Standards and London Fire Brigade about the way in which safety problems are recorded and how irresponsible manufacturers should be punished.

Lawyers representing Mr Muthiah's family said the changes "would stop manufacturers keeping safety issues secret" and force them to take action.

Blaze widow: We trusted faulty freezer would be safe

A widow has called for manufacturers and retailers to be more accountable after a faulty Beko fridge-freezer led to a house fire that killed her husband.

Santosh Benjamin Muthiah died in the 2010 blaze in Wealdstone.

Jennifer Benjamin said she and husband Santosh had "trusted the manufacturer for a safe product" and criticised the response to safety concerns.

"Manufacturers, producers and their retailers should be held more accountable for their actions, or their lack of response to consumer safety concerns. The value of a human life is priceless," she said.

Mrs Benjamin paid tribute to her husband as a respected professional and a doting father to the two children he died trying to save.

When he married me, I was a very reserved and quiet Indian girl. He has left me a brave widow. Not a day passes by where we do not think or speak about him.

– Jennifer Benjamin

Beko says it is confident it and its staff acted appropriately at all times.

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Household appliances 'should be redesigned' after fire

A coroner has called for a redesign of household appliances to reduce the risk of fires after an inquest found a Beko fridge-freezer was the likely cause of a deadly blaze in a London home.

Consumer Editor Chris Choi reports from the inquest:

Freezer 'likely cause' of deadly fire, inquest rules

An inquest into the death of a man who died trying to save his children from a fire in their home has found that the likely cause of the blaze was a fridge freezer.

Santosh Benjamin Muthiah, who was known as Mr Benjamin, died in November 2010 two days after the fire broke out in his home in Wealdstone, London.

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