Lawyers representing the families affected by the Shepherd’s Bush tower block fire in 2016 have welcomed Whirlpool’s safety advice U-turn after customers were told to unplug and not use dangerous, faulty tumble dryers.

The manufacturer, which sell brands including Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda, is now advising customers not to use machines until modifications have taken place.

Previously, it had said machines were safe to use if not left unattended.

London Fire Brigade say the huge blaze which destroyed flats in high-rise Shepherd's Court on August 19 was caused by a faulty Indesit tumble dryer and has been campaigning against Whirlpool’s advice.

Flames could be seen coming from one of the flats

It welcomed the change in policy, but consumer watchdog Which? says more action is needed.

The fire broke out in Debbie Defreitas’s seventh floor flat while she was at home but she was unable to stop the flames from spreading to other floors .

Leading consumer protection lawyer Leigh Day is representing families affected .

Jill Paterson, a partner in the consumer law and product safety team, said: “This advice from Whirlpool is long overdue, there should have been more urgent action taken to protect consumers.

"It should not have taken enforcement action by Trading Standards for this to happen.

“Manufacturers have a responsibility to their customers and consumers have a right to expect that what they are buying is safe and will not cause damage or injury.”

LFB fire investigators found that the blaze which ripped through the 18 storey building in Shepherd’s Bush was caused by a faulty Indesit tumble dryer which was subject to ‘corrective action’.

The fire brigade has been running a Total Recalls campaign calling for a number of measures to improve white goods’ safety.

One of the rooms damaged by the fire

It first wrote to Whirlpool in February 2016 asking the company to change its advice and then following the Shepherd’s Bush fire it launched its campaign.

LFB Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Dan Daly said: “This change of advice could save lives and we are extremely relieved that, after six months of campaigning by the Brigade, Whirlpool has finally brought its advice in line with our own.

“We attend nearly one fire a day involving white goods and strongly believe that if your appliance is subject to a safety or recall notice or you think there is something wrong with it you should unplug it immediately and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician.”

But Which? says more should be done. Managing director of home and legal services Alex Neill said: “Fundamentally, we now believe a full recall is necessary and the Government must urgently address the issues with the product safety system as it shouldn’t require the threat of judicial review to ensure that consumers are protected from dangerous products.

“Despite updating the safety notice on its websites, Whirlpool still needs to do a lot more. Our advice is to go straight to Whirlpool to demand your machine is fixed, but also try speaking to the retailer you bought it from.”

It took 120 firefighters to deal with the blaze

Earlier this month Hammersmith and Fulham Council had called on residents to sign a Which? tumble dryer petition.

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