London Fire Brigade

Inquest into the death of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah

26 September 2014

Today at Barnet Coroner’s Court, Her Majesty’s Coroner Andrew Walker recorded a narrative verdict following an inquest into the death of Santosh Benjamin Muthiah who died after a house fire in November 2010.

The fire originated in a BEKO fridge freezer. That particular model of fridge freezer was subsequently recalled by BEKO.

The Brigade’s statement

Assistant Commissioner for Fire Safety Regulation Steve Turek said:

“This was a tragic incident and our deepest sympathies are with the family and friends of Mr Muthiah.

“The Coroner has today reported on a number of risks associated with refrigeration appliances and highlighted action that could be taken to address those risks, which the Brigade fully supports.

“I’d like to commend the actions of both the crews who attended this tragic fire, and the Brigade’s Fire Investigation team, who conducted a thorough investigation into its cause and highlighted failures in this particular model of fridge freezer.

“Almost every home has a fridge or freezer and most work safely without incident. However,  as this tragic fire shows, faults in these appliances can arise. Some of the materials used in the manufacture of fridges and freezers are highly flammable and fires involving them can quickly become serious, with potentially tragic consequences.

“If a fire starts, you should get out, stay out and call the fire brigade immediately. If you think there may be a problem with an electrical appliance in your home our advice is to always unplug it and to contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician. You can also visit the London Fire Brigade website to check if an electrical product is subject to a recall.

“Finally, I would urge everyone to ensure they have a smoke alarm and to check regularly that it works. People should also plan how they would get out in the event of a fire in their home.”

What can you do?

If you think there may be a problem with an electrical appliance in your home, our advice is to always unplug it and contact the manufacturer or a qualified repair technician, immediately.

Use our recall checker to find out if an electrical product is subject to a safety notice or recall.