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Fridges can cause fires with 'tragic consequences'

Unfortunately, on rare occasions problems do occur and the result can be a big fire with potentially tragic consequences. This is why it's so important to make sure that if a fire involving a fridge or freezer does start, it doesn't spread.London Fire Brigade wants to see tougher standards so that the highly flammable insulation in fridges and freezers is better protected from fire. In the meantime, our advice is that if people notice any strange noises coming from their fridge or freezer, they should call the manufacturer or an electrical repair expert immediately.

– London Fire Brigade deputy commissioner Rita Dexter

Fires can start in fridge insulation and plastic

Old fridges finaly end up at recycling plants like this one in Billingham. Credit: Owen Humphreys/PA Archive/Press Association Images

Fridges and freezers built in recent years contain more plastic than older models, but the highly flammable insulation is not separated from the parts of the appliance where a fire can start, according to an LFB report.

A comparison between the UK and the US, where safety standards are more stringent, found that people in the UK involved in such a fire were more likely to be injured.

Figures for the UK suggested that one in every five fires involving fridges or freezers resulted in someone being injured, compared with one injury for every 25 fires in the US.

There are an average of 336 fires involving fridges or freezers in the UK each year, injuring 69 people.The LFB said it wanted to see tougher safety standards for the flammable insulation.

Fridge 'most dangerous' appliance in fire says brigade

Modern fridges and freezers are the most dangerous household appliance in a blaze, a fire service said as it called for tougher safety standards.

The London Fire Brigade (LFB) said fridges and freezers were of particular concern because they contain large amounts of plastic and highly flammable insulation, which can cause large fires that spread quickly with highly toxic gases.

The LFB's report into blazes started by electricity or in electrical appliances follows a fire in Neasden, north London, last year that began behind a chest freezer and resulted in the deaths of six people.