DEVASTATED dad John Wood has urged people to check their tumble dryers after he claims his sparked a fire that killed his dog.
The 37-year-old taxi driver went home from work before doing the school run on Thursday at 2.45pm to find his house in Boldre Close, Leigh Park, on fire.
He was unaware that he had a faulty Hotpoint tumble dryer, which has been part of a nationwide recall, and it had burst into flames.
The fire gutted his kitchen and his dog – a dalmatian called Holly – died due to smoke inhalation.
His other dog Rosie, another Dalmatian, survived.
Mr Wood said: ‘I came home to grab myself a coffee before picking the kids up.
‘When I opened the front door I was greeted by thick black smoke. I called the fire brigade and they arrived in about 10 minutes.
‘The firefighters put it out and shut off the gas. The first thing they did after was to drag the tumble dryer out and say “that’s the cause” and now we are left with all the mess. I was extremely angry.’
Luckily his two children Michael-John, seven, and Alexis, five, were at school at the time and his wife Gemma, 31, was at work.
Now the family has had to move out due to the damage and are staying with friends.
To make matters worse, their insurance company said it would not pay out because they left the tumble dryer on unattended.
Mr Wood said: ‘It has taken us days to clean up the soot and we’re just starting to paint now, but you walk in and it just smells.’
Mr Wood has contacted Hotpoint, which is sending an engineer out on Friday to assess the machine, although he wants to warn others to check their dryers, and not to leave them on unattended.
He said: ‘We’ve had to move out of the house because of the damage. There has been some adverts about the faulty machines and the occasional news clip, but I think it’s not been publicised enough for everyone to see.
‘After the fire, my mum checked hers and she’s got one that’s also part of the recall.
‘I posted on Facebook about it and quite a lot of people were saying they didn’t know anything about it.’
A spokesman from Hampshire Fire and Rescue said there had been other incidents of tumble dryers catching fire across the county.
He said: ‘A number of tumble dryers made by Indesit, Hotpoint and Creda are potential fire risks and need to be repaired.
‘Please check your tumble dryer is safe online at uk-afi.org/product-recall and when you buy an electrical item, always register it with the manufacturer. That way they can contact you direct if there is problem with the product.’
A spokesman from Hotpoint said the company would be investigating.
He said: ‘We investigate all reported incidents thoroughly. In the particular case of Mr Wood’s property, our engineer will visit the property on Friday and we will subsequently examine it in detail.
‘However, until we have completed these investigations, we are unable to comment further.’
Last November a safety warning was issued by the company, which affected a number of tumble dryers sold under the Hotpoint, Indesit and Creda brands over the past 11 years.