Officials with appliance manufacturer Whirlpool announced the recall Monday of hundreds of thousands of tumble dryers sold for more than a decade in the U.K., years after first alerting the public to their potential fire risk.
The recalled dryers were sold under Whirlpool's Hotpoint, Indesit, Creda, Swan and Proline brands, according to a recall notice posted online Monday. Company officials asked that anyone who has one of the affected dryers unplug it until it can be fixed or replaced.
Company officials issued a safety warning in 2015 after finding a flaw in the affected dryers which could make them catch fire, according to The Guardian. In a statement issued Monday, Whirlpool Vice President Jeff Noel said the issue involved a build-up of lint.
The company did not issue a recall after learning of the issue. Noel told BBC News the decision not to recall the machines was made because "many cases had been dealt with 'faster and sooner' by a safety fix."
Whirlpool officials have said 54 fires have been caused in recent years by a build-up of lint in its tumble dryers, though government officials said the faulty machines were to blame in at least 750 fires over 11 years, according to BBC News.
Government officials ordered Whirlpool recall the dryers last month.
"Safety is our top priority and tackling the issue with our tumble dryers has been one of the biggest challenges we have ever faced," Noel said Monday in a statement. "We value our customers more than anything and we recognise that we let many of you down. You deserved better from us and for this we apologise to you all."
Noel told members of Parliament earlier this month that as many as 800,000 faulty dryers might still be in use throughout the U.K., The Guardian reported.
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