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Safety alert over fire risk fridge freezers and IKEA high chair

An electrical manufacturer whose faulty gas cookers resulted in a number of deaths in Ireland has stepped up a nationwide safety alert on a range of frost-free fridge freezers because of a fire hazard.

Beko has begun a maildrop on households in order to warn them of the risks associated with certain fridge freezers made between January 2000 and October 2006, with serial numbers starting with 00, 01, 02, 03, 04, 05, and 06.

The problem is the defrost timer located at the back can fail, overheat and cause a fire hazard, with one fire linked to this in Ireland, and a number of fires and one death under investigation in the UK.

The products had been independently tested and had met all European safety standards, the company said.

Beko said they will carry out a free of charge modification to all affected models, and warned anyone with one that is not working properly to unplug it and to contact them.

The company first issued an alert on these fridge freezers in May 2011 but is stepping up its safety warnings following serious problems with faulty cookers.

An inquest in Donegal last month heard how pensioners Annie 'Nana' Gallagher (84) and Sally McDyre (79) died at Mrs Gallagher's home in Glenties because of fumes from a faulty Beko-made gas cooker, while a Cork student also died after breathing in carbon monoxide fumes from one back in 2008.

Further details on the models affected are available by calling 1800 25 29 25 or online at www.beko.ie.

Meanwhile, Ikea has recalled a high chair after a number of children were injured using it.

This is the third time in four years the Swedish furniture giant has been forced to recall defective high chairs.

Ikea yesterday recalled its Antilop children's high chair because its belt can open unexpectedly creating a fall hazard.

They said they had received eight reports of the belt opening, including three that resulted in minor injury. None of these injuries occurred in Ireland, the company said.

Customers who have an Antilop high chair are asked to check the number on the underside of the seat, as the models affected have the supplier number 17839 and a production date between 06-07 and 09-11. Owners can return these chairs or receive a free replacement belt.

Asked if the three separate recalls of high chairs indicated rigorous safety standards for baby products were not being met, a spokesperson said IKEA never compromised on the safety of its products and all were independently tested to comply with European and North American requirements.

"The safety of our products is always the highest priority at Ikea and we are constantly reviewing and developing working methods to safeguard our customers," they said.

The National Consumer Agency said the onus was on manufacturers and distributors to ensure that all products are safe and to alert the authorities if a fault is discovered.

Irish Independent