Smallford family left without shower in soaring temperatures

James Clarke and his partner Isabelle Dabare in the shower holding the damaged wires

James Clarke and his partner Isabelle Dabare in the shower holding the damaged wires - Credit: Archant

While many have enjoyed the soaring temperatures of the past week, one family has been left feeling particularly hot under the collar.

Isabelle Dabare and family, of Wilkins Green Lane, Smallford, have not washed properly in more than a week after the shower in their council house went up in smoke.

Isabelle, 28, James Clarke, 25, and their two daughters, aged 11 and three, have been left without proper means of a washing since Sunday, July 13, when they had a near escape following the smell of burning.

When Isabelle went to check what it was, she was shocked to see a bathroom full of smoke after the wires to the shower had melted. Isabelle said: “We are lucky that we have not been electrocuted.”

The district council has since denied responsibility, leaving the family to wash in pots and pans until they can come up with a solution.


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Isabelle has had heated arguments with the council which, she says is responsible for the wiring of the property.

After working through piles of paperwork, Isabelle insists that it is not the fitting but the wiring that is the problem and the council should take action.

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She went on: “I am absolutely disgusted with the way they have treated us. I think to myself, you’re all going home to your showers and baths, my family can’t do that.

“I feel like a statue that can’t do anything. I’m stuck. It’s been horrible, absolutely horrible.”

Isabelle added: “I will not be giving up. I may be responsible for our shower and that’s fine with me but I will not be responsible for the electrics.”

St Albans council insists that the family took responsibility for all fittings put in by the previous tenants when they swapped homes in October and that the burning was a fault of the fitting, not the wiring.

After sending an electrician to disconnect the shower, the council has concluded that the responsibility of a new shower is down to Isabelle and James.

Karen Dragovic, St Albans council’s head of housing, said: “As the shower was installed by a previous tenant, and the property is a mutual exchange home swap, the installation is the responsibility of the tenant.”

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