The Grenfell Tower fire was started by a Hotpoint fridge-freezer, police have confirmed.
Police are currently investigating the tower blaze in west London and may bring manslaughter charges against companies involved in the building or refurbishment of the tower block.
Metropolitan Police Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said the fire started in a fridge – a Hotpoint FF175BP model – which had not been subject to any product recall or safety notice.
“We are looking at every criminal offence from manslaughter onwards,” she said. “We are reviewing every company involved in the building and refurbishment.”
In a statement, Hotpoint said: “Words cannot express our sorrow at this terrible tragedy. We offer our most profound condolences to the victims, those who have lost loved ones, homes, and possessions, and to their friends and families. Our thoughts and prayers are with all those involved, including the emergency services who risked their lives to extinguish the blaze and rescue those in the building.
“We have just been informed that the fire may have originated in a Hotpoint fridge-freezer – model number FF175BP.
“We are working with the authorities to obtain access to the appliance so that we can assist with the ongoing investigations. Under these circumstances, we are unable to speculate on further details at this time. We are addressing this as a matter of utmost urgency and assisting the authorities in any way we can. We will provide additional updates as our investigations progress.
“Consumers who believe they may have a Hotpoint fridge freezer model number FF175BP or FF175BG should call our freephone hotline on 0800 316 3826 or visit hotpointservice.co.uk/fridgefreezer so that we can register their details and contact them with further information.”
The Government has today ordered an “immediate examination” of the Hotpoint fridge-freezer at the root of the blaze by technical experts to determine the cause of the incident.
Greg Clark, Secretary of State for the Department of Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy (BEIS) said: “The safety of consumers is paramount. The device is being subject to immediate and rigorous testing to establish the cause of the fire. I have made clear to the company that I will expect them to replace any item without delay if it is established that there is a risk in using them.”
He added that, at this stage, there was no specific reason for owners of the model to switch off their appliance pending further investigation.
Further updates will be given from Hotpoint about the action it will take in relation to this product.
Last week, Business Minister Margot James wrote to trade associations representing all major domestic appliance manufacturers outlining the Government’s expectation of action by their members should a household appliance be found to have played a part in the Grenfell Tower fire.
McCormack also revealed that insulation and tiles on the tower block failed safety tests.
She said that all companies involved were cooperating with the police.
- Main image: Hotpoint FF175BG, a similar model to the one that caught fire