Grenfell Tower inquiry: Expert says fridge-freezer started blaze

The relay compressor compartment recovered from the fridge freezer from flat 16

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The relay compressor compartment recovered from the fridge freezer from flat 16

The fire that engulfed Grenfell Tower probably started due to overheated wiring in a fridge-freezer, according to one expert.

John Glover told the inquiry into the blaze that a connector in a Hotpoint FF175BP in flat 16 of the block had a “poor crimp connection”.

That meant the wires were not gripped as tightly as they should be and the connector overheated, he said.

A total of 72 people died as the result of the west London fire in June 2017.

The public inquiry was shown a picture of the connector, which had been recovered from a small relay compressor compartment at the bottom of the fridge freezer.

The inquiry was told that investigators also found three inches of damaged wire in one of the bedrooms of the flat.

A report by Mr Glover – a principal engineer at investigations firm Failure Electrical – said he studied CT scans of the connector and found spaces “indicating the crimp was not nice and tight”.

He added: “A probable cause of the fire is a poor crimp connection.

“The overheating connector in my opinion was the first event that started burning the insulation on the wires that led to a short circuit.

“The overheating of the crimp starts the fire. It overheats, it glows, it ignites.”

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Media captionThe wiring in a fridge freezer most likely caused the fire at Grenfell

A week after the fire, the Metropolitan Police said it believed it had started in a fridge-freezer.

The manufacturer, Whirlpool, and the government carried out investigations into the model, but in May this year they said there were no safety issues or a need to recall the product.

A statement from Whirlpool said: “We would like to reassure owners of these products that they are safe and they can continue to use them as normal.

“All fridges, freezers, and fridge-freezers across all our UK brands – including Hotpoint, Indesit and Whirlpool – are manufactured with solid metal or aluminium laminate flame-retardant back panels.”

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