Boiler leak forces family out of home

Shelly Long with her 14-year-old son Cory
Shelly Long with her 14-year-old son Cory

A faulty boiler led to the death of a family dog, a woman has claimed.

Shelly Long has said that a problem with the boiler at her rented home on Cypress Road in Worsley Hall made her sister and son ill and led to the death of her Yorkshire terrier, Minnie, after it began leaking carbon monoxide, a colourless, odourless but highly poisonous gas.

Her 14-year-old son, Cory, who has epilepsy, had been suffering from headaches for weeks but it was when her sister, Courtney Purcell, 18, began to feel unwell that she called emergency services to the Wigan and Leigh Homes property on Sunday night at around 9.45pm.

Minnie had died earlier that day, aged five, but Shelly said vets didn’t know why she had died so suddenly and it was only later Shelly realised there could be a connection.

The 32-year-old has blamed Wigan Council and Wigan and Leigh Homes for the leak which she has said was caused by a sealed box being placed on top of the boiler.

Shelly, who has lived in the property since March, said: “We all had bad headaches, dizziness and were feeling unwell. My sister Courtney was taken to hospital and found to have low carbon monoxide poisoning.

“I have been told I cannot go back to my house until we have received hospital reports but I don’t want to go back there now. I don’t feel safe there anymore.

“Everything was checked over by an engineer when we moved in and we were told it was safe but it obviously wasn’t.”

Shelly said it is lucky that she had taken Cory to live at her mum’s for a few weeks otherwise it could have made his epilepsy worse.

“It is the council’s fault because they had put a box on top of the boiler which was covering the flu. It wasn’t visible so we didn’t know it was there,” she said.

“My dog Minnie fell asleep on Sunday and didn’t wake up again and no one knew why.

“My son is epileptic and he has been having really bad headaches for weeks so about two weeks ago he went to stay at my mum’s and he hasn’t had a headache since.

“They have put my life, my son’s life and my sister’s life in danger.”

Firefighters, who attended along with a National Grid engineer, urged residents to get their gas appliances checked and to call the National Grid emergency line if they suspect a leak.

Matt Roberts, director of asset management and development at Wigan and Leigh Homes, said: “We have been notified of the incident and are carrying out an investigation.”