Grenfell Tower blaze started by faulty Hotpoint fridge as police consider manslaughter charges

The Grenfell Tower fire started in a faulty fridge and the cladding and insulation on the block has failed safety tests, police said.

Metropolitan Detective Superintendent Fiona McCormack said the Hotpoint FF175BP model fridge (pictured above) that started the blaze had not been subject to any product recall.

She also confirmed that the police will consider manslaughter charges as part of the investigation into the disaster.

Hotpoint released a statement, saying: ‘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/fridgefreezerso that we can register their details and contact them with further information.’

Witnesses at the scene of the 24-storey blaze in north Kensington on June 14 described hearing one resident claiming it was his appliance which was responsible.

The number of people to have died, including those classed as missing presumed dead, remains at 79, she said.

Smoke pours from the Grenfell Tower (PA Images)

Ms McCormack said the tests carried out as part of the investigation were “small scale”, but added: “All I can say at the moment is they (tiles and insulation) don’t pass any safety tests.

“What we are being told at the moment by the Building Research Establishment is that the cladding and insulation failed all safety tests.”

She added: “Our investigation is to establish how the fire started.”

Next steps

Following the tragedy in West London a national safety operation is under way to identify buildings with cladding akin to that used on the Grenfell Tower.

So far the Government has received samples from 11 high rise buildings in eight local authority areas where the cladding has failed safety tests.


Helping the victims

Survivors and the families of victims of the Grenfell Tower tragedy will be now given thousands in charitable grants, as some of the public donations raised are consolidated.

The Charity Commission has announced, in a first phase of funding, an initial payment of £20,000 will be given to the families of each person who has died or is declared missing presumed dead.

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Up to £10,000 will also be available for immediate distribution to each person seriously injured and requiring hospital treatment.

Another £10,000 will also be given to every family from Grenfell as a “fresh start” grant as they move into new permanent accommodation.

Three of the major funds raising cash for those affected, the British Red Cross, K&C Foundation and the Evening Standard Dispossessed Fund in collaboration with The London Community Foundation, have now come together with the London Emergencies Trust.

Tributes are left to the victims of the Grenfell Tower blaze (PA Images)

It has been agreed to consolidate some of the cash raised for the victims by the charities, with support and advice from the Charity Commission, to coordinate financial help for those affected.

David Holdsworth, chief operating officer at the Charity Commission, said the British public have “now donated millions to help the victims” of the fire.

“This collaboration, along with the first immediate distribution of funds from public donations, will help ensure clear, easy access to the help and support that those affected by this devastating tragedy so urgently need,” he said.

“They can never heal what has happened but will hopefully provide some help to those suffering at this most difficult time.”

Susan Dolton, director at the independent charity, the K&C Foundation, which has raised £3.4 million so far, welcomed the “new unified effort”.

So far more than £2.8 million has also been raised by the British Red Cross in donations made through its national appeal.