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UK committee chair calls for total recall of Whirlpool dryers

Rachel Reeves, a Labour member of the U.K. Parliament who chairs its business, energy and industrial strategy committee, has asked the Office for Product Safety and Standards to consider a full recall of Whirlpool Corp. machines that she calls "defective."

Whirlpool has not taken "proper responsibility" for machines that caused a "series of potentially deadly safety issues," Reeves charged in a May 9 letter to Andrew Griffiths, another MP.

Concerns have existed for years around the safety of Whirlpool dryers in the U.K., specifically after a 2014 fire in North Wales that killed two people, according to reports by the BBC. The fire was potentially started by a door mechanism defect, although Whirlpool claims the fire was caused by a "spontaneously combusting tea towel that retained flammable liquids," Reeves explained in the letter.

Reeves charged that Whirlpool did not outline plans to fix the door mechanism when the company sent an explanation of the fatal fire to the North Wales assistant coroner. "There is therefore a risk that there are hundreds of thousands of (potentially) defective and dangerous machines in people's homes."

Defective Whirlpool dryers have led to at least 750 fires across the country since 2004, the BBC reported in January, citing the Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy Committee.

Whirlpool did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Previously, the appliance manufacturer told Reeves' committee that it would resolve defective machines within a week once an issue was raised by a customer, after a report with recommendations for the company was published by Reeves' committee. However, Reeves said Whirlpool has "failed to provide these figures or any satisfactory assurances about the rate at which they are resolving defective machines."