Burnley mum's warning about "silent killer" that could be in every home

A mum, who had to flee her home when her tumble dryer caught fire, has made an impassioned plea for families to check their household appliances.

Tuesday, 27th March 2018, 11:40 am
Updated Tuesday, 27th March 2018, 9:05 pm
Tracey and her daughter Demi in the outhouse that was destroyed by a fire in their tumble dryer.
Tracey and her daughter Demi in the outhouse that was destroyed by a fire in their tumble dryer.

Tracey McDonald spoke out this week after statistics released by Electrical Safety First showed that in 2017 4,732 fires were caused by faulty electrical appliances.

This is the equivalent to 13 fires a day in the UK.

Tracey became one of those statistics in August last year when she and he daughter Demi (22) were forced to flee their home in the Briercliffe area of the town when the dryer exploded into flames.

The aftermath of the blaze at Tracey's home.

Tracey said: "These are shocking statistics and I feel that not enough is being done to make people aware of how important it is that they check household appliances, such as washers and dryers are safe.

"These are items that are right at the centre of our homes, it is like having a silent killer in your kitchen.."

In December Carl Priestley and his family, including four children, lost everything when a faulty tumble dryer caused a fire at their home in Kingbury Place, Burnley.

Luckily the family were out of the house at the time of the blaze.

The aftermath of the blaze at Tracey's home.

Tracey said: "When I read about what had happened to that family I was so shocked and felt so awful for them.

"And it made me realise that this is an issue that needs bringing to the public's attention."

In 2017 faulty goods were responsible for around 20 per cent of all electrical house fires, causing hundreds of casualties and in some cases death.

But research by Electrical Safety First, which is a charity working with all sectors of the electrical industry as well as local and central government to reduce deaths and injuries caused by electrical accidents, shows that three in 10 British consumers are willing to put themselves in danger by continuing to use a product they know has been recalled for safety reasons.

Tracey said: "If people had experienced what I did last year they would not be so complacent, I am sure of that."

The machine was installed in an outhouse next to the kitchen and when the fire broke out the building was gutted within seven minutes.

Tracey said: "Demi thought it was steam coming from the machine but it was actually smoke.

"When we realised it was on fire we rang the fire brigade and they told us to get out of the house."

Tracy had bought her new machine online but she had it checked out by an accredited engineer who did some work on it told her it was "like brand new."

This was after a recommendation by the manufacturer.

The blaze caused £2,800 worth of damage including around £500 worth of clothes which were destroyed.

When fire officers confirmed it was the faulty machine that had caused the blaze, Tracey was devastated as she had been so meticulous in trying to make sure it was safe, including registering it.

The Government has launched a new product safety office, tasked with researching how best to encourage consumers to respond to recall notices and to drive up the number of people registering appliances with manufacturers.

But Tracey would like to see the department step up its game to get the message out there.

She said: "It is a bit of a dry subject but it is so important.

"I just worry that it is going to happen again soon as the next person who has a fire like this may not be as lucky as we were."