Couple fear return to ‘unsafe’ house

Darren McIntyre
Darren McIntyre

A COUPLE claim they are being forced to move back into a house that is still unsafe following a fire.

Darren McIntyre and Lisa Wynn were left homeless after their Wigan and Leigh Homes house on Everest Road, Atherton, was badly damaged when a faulty phone charger sparked a fire in the kitchen.

The state of the house is appalling. There is no electricity or gas and none of the wires can have been tested because there isn’t an electricity supply. There is still wallpaper from before on the walls and damage to the ceiling

Darren McIntrye

They have been living in emergency accommodation since the fire on April 13, but say they received a letter last week from WALH telling them they must return to their original property by this Friday.

But after visiting their old house they found it in a state which they say is unsafe and uninhabitable.

Darren, 42, says there is no electricity as the supply hasn’t been switched on, no gas and no boiler while the electrical wiring which was damaged in the fire hasn’t been replaced or checked and the smoke alarms are still melted. He said: “The state of the house is appalling. There is no electricity or gas and none of the wires can have been tested because there isn’t an electricity supply.

“There is still wallpaper from before on the walls and damage to the ceiling.

“The smoke alarms are melted and there is wood in the back garden that the firefighters put there when tackling the fire.

“We have tried to tell them that this is not acceptable but we just keep getting passed from department to department. Nobody seems to care.

“Lisa has been badly affected by the fire and has been told by her doctor not to move back in so to find out that it hasn’t got working smoke alarms and the wiring hasn’t been checked is really worrying for both of us.”

Darren says they have no choice but to move back into the property which WALH told them was ready.

But Steve Martlew, group manager of tenancy retention at WALH, said: “Mr McIntyre and Ms Wynn were housed temporarily following a fire at their property.

“Unfortunately they were notified that the property was habitable before all works were completed.

“We have arranged the outstanding works and of course will continue to house Mr McIntyre and Ms Wynn until these works are completed. We apologise for any distress caused at the time.”

At the time of going to print, the couple had not been informed by WALH of the new arrangements.

The couple are also worried about the effect moving back into the house will have on Lisa, 45, who was in the house at the time of the fire.

Darren said: “My wife has been suffering since the fire as she was surrounded by the flames in the kitchen.

“She could smell something funny and the smoke alarms went off so went in to the kitchen to investigate.

“She didn’t notice anything at first but the firefighter said afterwards she must have let a draft in that fanned the flames and caused the walls and the ceiling to ignite.

“She was lucky to escape unharmed as the fire spread up the walls around her.”