Beko appliances: Households still at risk from faulty white goods that caused deadly fire

Santosh Benjamin Muthiah died trying to save his children after a faulty Beko fridge-freezer caused a fire in his home.

Almost half a million of the same model were sold across the UK between 2000 and 2006. There remains a very real risk from these appliances - with almost 80,000 potentially still in use.

Santosh Benjamin Muthiah died in 2010.

Father of two Noel Davies in Merseyside had a fire a month ago, we've established that he had one of the faulty fridge-freezers.

The inquest that ended today revealed how Beko did not recall its freezers despite knowing there were dangers.

As far back as 2003 they were aware of "maybe 8 to 12 fires".

In 2006, a Beko technician emailed bosses saying: "We should expect more."

By 2008, Beko was aware of 32 fires - and it started to modifying freezers during service visits, but still issued no general safety alert.

In November 2010 Santosh Benjamin Muthiah died.

Only in April 2011 was there a general safety alert from Beko.

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.

A list of the Beko model numbers affected with the problem. Credit: Beko

Of 492,000 of the units sold, Beko says 197,884 have been modified, while the company estimates that 214,851 are no longer in use.

If those figures are correct, that still leaves close to 80,000 units unaccounted for and potentially still in people's homes.

Beko had started to repair the freezers when its engineers called at homes for services - but the inquest was told that at the rate they were going it would have taken 61 years to modify all the affected machines.

Now the London Fire Brigade tell us that even a year after Santosh Benjamin had died, they were still unhappy with how Beko was reacting.

We would have expected a far more public notification, it would be fair to say at that time they hadn't gone as far as any corporate entity should have done given the information we had provided them with.

– Steve Turek, London Fire Brigade

Current recall laws don’t empower fire brigades to force firms to act. Nor is there any centralized system for reporting fires caused by faulty appliances - and no single authority to oversee recalls.

In terms of product safety, little has changed since Santosh Benjamin Muthiah died.

Following today's inquest, Beko's managing director said the company had extended condolences to his family.

At all times Beko believed that the company and its employees acted responsibly and appropriately in the circumstances.

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".

If you are concerned about a Beko fridge freezer, call the company on 0800 917 2018 or see the advice on this Beko website.