Several residents were evacuated by up to 35 firefighters after flooding from a water tank caused electrical explosions

Seven residents were evacuated from St Patrick's Court around 5am this morning

Seven residents were evacuated from St Patrick's Court around 5am this morning

First published in News
Last updated
East London and West Essex Guardian Series: Photograph of the Author by , Reporter

Residents living in a high rise block of flats have described the early morning evacuation and flooding to their homes as "like being in a nightmare".

Six fire engines and 35 firefighters were called to St Patrick's Court in the Bridle Path of Woodford Green for a second time after 5am when residents raised the alarm about water dripping from their electrics. 

A water pipe from a newly-fitted pressure boiler in a vacant apartment on the 7th floor had burst before 3am this morning, causing water to leak through the hallway, stairwell and two sets of apartments below.

Residents were then awoken by the noise of several explosions in the dry-risers on the sixth floor and seven tenants were evacuated as a precaution.

John Morrill, 69, was woken when he heard firefighters banging on his door.

"We were told to keep our heads low as they guided us out of the block. It was a horrendous, terrifying moment, like being in a nightmare. There were several loud explosions but we were too scared to look up.

"We still don't know exactly what happened and no-one from Ascham Homes will tell us when our water and electricity will be restored," said Mr Morrill.

Omar Garcia lives directly below the apartment which contained the burst pipe, and said it is the 19th time his home was been flooded.

He said: "This has happened so many times but this morning was the worst. It was pouring through the walls and was completely uncontrollable. I called Ascham Homes who sent the fire crew and a plumber just after 3am this morning.

"After they turned off the water, they left and an hour later I asked a maintenance man to call Ascham Homes again because I could smell burning rubber."

In the row of flats below Mr Garcia is Rosemary Dzumbunu whose home and all of its contents have been ruined by the terrifying ordeal.

"I was very very frightened. All of my lights switched off and I had no idea what was going on only that water was gushing through my walls and I had to use 10 buckets.

"It was so scary and I never want this to happen again," said Ms Dzumbunu.

Residents claim the flood was caused by the faulty installation of the boiler by Ascham Homes staff, but this has not been verified or denied by the social housing management firm.

Up to 200 adults and children are still without water and electricity and Ascham Homes have not said when it will be restored.

A spokeswoman said: "We can confirm that there was a burst water pipe on the 7th floor of St Patricks Court in the early hours of this morning which caused water damage to flats below.

"The water did enter an electrical intake cupboard but there was no fire reported. The London Fire Brigade attended and made the intake cupboard safe. A small number of residents were evacuated for a short period of time while this was carried out.

"Our contractors are currently on site to restore the water and electricity as soon as possible, and we have provided bottled water for the affected residents while the water has been turned off."

The cause of the fire is under investigation.

Comments (3)

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4:33pm Wed 23 Apr 14

Thunderbird4 says...

If it has happened 19 times before, there is a problem that the maintenance experts are unable to see or solve: Not fit for purpose.
If it has happened 19 times before, there is a problem that the maintenance experts are unable to see or solve: Not fit for purpose. Thunderbird4
  • Score: 1

8:05pm Wed 23 Apr 14

frankrunyeon says...

I love the last line: "The cause of the investigation is under investigation."
I love the last line: "The cause of the investigation is under investigation." frankrunyeon
  • Score: 1

2:29pm Thu 24 Apr 14

Villagecranberry says...

Hardly the Towering Inferno with Robert Vaughan cheating his way cunningly onto the little lift on the wire.
Hardly the Towering Inferno with Robert Vaughan cheating his way cunningly onto the little lift on the wire. Villagecranberry
  • Score: 0

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