A Birmingham mother was killed as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning following a small fire in a model of tumble dryer blamed for 20 previous fires, an inquest heard on Monday 8 August.
Mishell Moloney, 49, who cared for her deaf 17-year-old son, had switched off her Beko DCS85W 8 kg model dryer before going to bed, but a fire in or near the printed circuit board generated smoke and deadly carbon monoxide which killed her as she slept, Birmingham Coroners Court found.
Mishell's body was found by her sister and daughter who broke their way in on 7 February (2016) and found her body under a duvet beside her bed. Emergency services raced to the scene but the fire was already out. Paramedics were unable to save Ms Moloney, who daughter Jodie described as a hero who had always been there for her and her family.
The Beko DCS85W model has been responsible for at least 20 other fires, said coroner for Birmingham and Solihull, Emma Brown. However, the previously reported incidents took place in the smaller 6kg and 7kg models, while the fault in Ms Moloney's dryer was apparently the first of its kind.
"Beko had previously received 20 reports of spontaneous fires," said Brown. "It had been determined that a recall was not required because the risk of injury was very low. Mishell was aware of the problem with the tumble dryer before the fire because she turned the main switch off but it clearly wasn't apparent to her that turning off the mains wasn't going to solve the problem. She obviously thought she had dealt with the problem and went to bed intending to deal with it subsequently. The medical cause of Mishell's death I record as 1a carbon monoxide poisoning and 1b smoke inhalation."
Brown asked Beko's director of quality, Andrew Mullen, why the larger 8 kg model had not been recalled along with the smaller models. "We looked at the number of incidents against sales, the severity of the incidents and circumstances, and in all those assessments they were all incidents that happened within 10 or 20 minutes of the tumble dryer being used," said Mullen (as reported by The Guardian). "Nearly all those were when the tumble dryer was in unheated buildings such as a shed or outhouse. In those cases the risk of injury was low."
In June 2016,the Local Government Association said fire fighters had to deal with three blazes every day caused by tumble dryers of different makes. "People using faulty tumble dryers are unwittingly playing Russian roulette and leading manufacturers need to recall affected models as soon as possible to protect their customers," said Jeremy Hilton, chairman of the LGA's fire services management committee. "These defective products are endangering lives, causing thousands of pounds of damage to homes and making people homeless."