Ipswich: Family left without heating or hot water after gas leak

A FAMILY has been left without heating or hot water for almost a week after a gas leak.

L’Toyah Kempen, 26, her partner Tom Royall, 32, and four-year-old son Rhys of Broomwade Close were forced to turn off their boiler last Friday after engineers declared it unsafe.

The problems first started last week when Miss Kempen noticed mould on her kitchen ceiling.

When she had it checked she discovered it was due to a flue pipe coming loose and causing a gas leak.

When the property had a gas safety inspection in November 2011, Miss Kempen was told her kitchen should have hatches installed in the ceiling to allow inspectors to check the pipes, but this never happened.

Engineers had no choice but to turn off the boiler on Friday afternoon, leaving the family with no heating or hot water.

Wherry Housing Association, the company responsible for the property, declined to put the family up in a hotel, instead providing small temporary heaters.

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Mr Royall said: “It’s been quite bad, we’ve had to sleep in the lounge to keep warm and we’ve been putting the oven on for a couple of hours to warm the room up.

“If it was summer, it wouldn’t be a problem, but it’s not. Obviously we can’t sleep with the oven on.

“They gave us these little fan heaters, but they’re useless. We tried to use them, but they weren’t effective.

“We’re on an electric meter and we can’t afford to put a load of money in to the meter in the first place.”

Miss Kempen suffers with asthma and has struggled with the cold but the couple are more concerned for their son.

“When Rhys wanted to play in his bedroom, I couldn’t let him,” Mr Royall said. “We don’t want him to catch cold. It’s been hard to explain to him why he can’t run around and play.”

Sue Stavers, managing director of Wherry Housing Association, said the repair to the boiler was completed yesterday.

She said: “We have been working as quickly as we can to resolve this problem for Ms Kempen and her family. Gas safe registered engineers turned off the boiler at the family home last week to protect them against a fault with the flue.

“Workmen carried out a full inspection the next working day so they could start the repair work. We have apologised to the family for the short delay in securing the replacement part needed to complete the repair but have kept in close contact with them during this time and have provided temporary heaters to keep the home warm.

“A gas safety inspection was carried out at the property this time last year but this was passed in full and the current fault is completely unconnected to this previous visit.

“We are getting in touch with the family to let them know we will cover the costs of additional heating at this time.”