TDK humidifier identified as cause of nursing home fire that killed 4


The president of electronics company TDK Corp said Friday that a TDK humidifier which was subject to recall was likely the cause of a fatal fire at a Nagasaki nursing care home for people with senile dementia.

On Feb 8, four elderly women died and several other elderly residents were injured in the fire at Bell House Higashiyamate.

TDK President Takehiro Kamigama held a news conference at which he apologized to the relatives of the those killed and said that it was highly probable the fire was caused by a faulty TDK KS-500H humidifier, TBS reported.

According to TDK, the model KS-500H humidifier, which was manufactured in 1998, had a defective heating unit inside. A TDK spokesperson said a product recall was announced in 1999 and that of the 20,000 units sold, about 25% still had not been returned, TBS reported.

Japan Today

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    They say the humidifiers that work by heating the water to produce steam are not that good, because the internal warmth also makes it easier for bacteria to grow inside the units and then be spread around in the mist. Some companies make humidifiers now that work by use of an high-frequency oscillator and these are supposed to be better, and more important, safer.

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    the internal warmth also makes it easier for bacteria to grow inside the units and then be spread around in the mist

    I was under the impression that the steam humidifiers boil off the bacteria, while the ultrasonic humidifiers are more likely to release bacteria and minerals into the air. I guess better ultrasonic humidifiers might have a feature to kill the bacteria though.

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