St Albans tower block residents evacuated after water leak - UPDATED
A water leak caused quite a storm in a city centre council block, leaving countless people homeless for a night.
What is believed to be a burst pipe reacting with electricity cables in Telford Court, near Alma Road, St Albans, left the block of flats without electricity, heating or water throughout Sunday evening and Monday.
The block was evacuated on Monday and occupants had to stay with family and friends or were put up in a hotel.
Some were left with no choice but to stay and braved the cold as they had to look after their pets and had nowhere to go.
The block was without use of the lifts and the security system was down resulting in police guarding the building in case it became a target for burglars.
The incident comes after residents were without electricity last Friday and had suffered from two further water shortages in the past fortnight, going without water for eight hours at a time.
Peter Hulland, 26, was staying with his partner and 18-month-old son in the block when the power went down on Sunday.
He said: “The council have been so unhelpful, it seems like nobody cares - all they could do was to drop off water bottles the next day.
“I spoke to someone on the phone when it first happened; they were so rude and they didn’t send anyone over until the following morning.
“Meanwhile I’ve got my 18 month old in a cold flat. I think these flats have been neglected and we’ve heard that they are long overdue a maintenance check.
“They are supposed to be someone who is there to support and help us, but they don’t want to know.”
Cllr Chris White said: “There has been a history of water leaks at this property, going back as early as June and they still haven’t got to the bottom of it.
“The council need to get to grips with the structural problems and actually find out what is going on.
“They need to check their relationship too, it’s top down, not a partnership, and some of the letters I’ve read come across very high handed.
“If you were letting from someone else you would be able to change your suppliers but because they are council tenants they have no choice.”
A spokesperson for St Albans District council confirmed that the 60-flat tower block had suffered a power fault on site with residents left with no power or water between Sunday evening and just before midnight on Monday.
A statement said that power was restored late on Monday night and the door entry system, fire alarm system and lifts were now working.
Thanking residents for their continued patience, the council said housing officers were due to visit residents on Tuesday to explain the situation and deal with any outstanding questions.