Jan 9 2013 by Hannah Bewley, Harrow Observer
sonia gardens fire
A FIRE service has revealed modern fridges and freezers are the most dangerous household appliances after an investigation prompted by a devastating house fire in Neasden.
The London Fire Brigade produced a report into the appliances after six members of the Kua family died in September 2011 in Sonia Gardens.
The report looks at fires that were started by electricity or in electrical appliances and contain large amounts of plastic and highly flammable insulation, which can cause big fires that spread quickly.
This insulation also produces highly toxic gases when involved in a fire.
A Whirlpool chest freezer was found to be responsible for the fire at the Kua family home at an inquest at North London Coroner’s Court in Barnet in October last year.
Standards are different in the USA and the brigade estimates there is an average of one injury for every 25 fires involving fridges, freezers or fridge freezers.
However, in the UK, one in every five fires in fridges or freezers result in someone being injured. In the UK, there is an average of 336 fires involving fridges or freezers each year, injuring 69 people.
London Fire Brigade is calling for tougher standards so that the highly flammable insulation used in fridges and freezers is made safer from fire.
Rita Dexter, deputy commissioner of the brigade, said: “Almost every home in Britain has a fridge or freezer and the chances are, it will be plugged in and working safely for years.
“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.”
She advised people to contact the manufacturer or an electrician if they noticed a strange noise coming from their fridge or freezer.
Muna Elmufatish, 41, daughters Hanin Kua, 14, Basma, 13 (pictured left), Amal, nine, and sons Mustafa, five, and Yehya, two, all died as a result of ‘inhalation of fire fumes’ in the Neasden fire.
Only the father, Bassam Kua, and his daughter Nur, 17, survived.
Mr Kua, 52, had bravely tried to save his family from the blaze which London Fire Brigade called ‘the worst house fire in London in over a decade’.