Families left out in cold after East End homes blaze in Old Ford

Families have been left in the cold and having to be put up in emergency bed and breakfast after a fire destroyed electricity cables in their block of maisonettes in London’s East End.

Their homes are still without heat or light after several days—as December temperatures plummet.

The 16 tenants and leaseholders are now seeking legal advice after claiming Old Ford Housing Association failed to repair the roof for more than a year which they say has now led to a rainwater seeping into cables at the bottom of the communal stairwell.

They were woken at 5.40am last Tuesday when smoke filled the staircase and corridors of the four-storey block in St Stephen’s Road in Old Ford.

“We’ve had no electricity for days and the place is freezing,” said mum-of-four Tania Jones, 30. “Our homes are in darkness—all we’ve got are candles.”

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He mother Kay Carter said: “The fire could have been prevented had the roof been fixed a year ago. Now the rainwater has finally got into the cable cupboard.”

Leaseholders were told they had to pay their hotel bills and claim back on their own insurance.

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Father-of-three Abdus Sabur was furious.

“It’s terrible weather to be out looking for temporary accommodation,” he said. “I’ve had to borrow money for the hotel deposit and don’t know when I’ll be repaid.”

One tenant, mum-of-four Nadia Rhouila, had just returned to work after maternity leave—but had to take time off to deal with the emergency.

“We are taking legal advice,” she said. “I couldn’t give my boss any information because I was getting none myself from the housing office.”

The blackout was the day before her eldest son, Walid, 16, was taking his mock GCSEs—and couldn’t use the internet for his studies.

Old Ford Housing promised to have the electricity restored by the end of Wednesday (Dec 5) after being contacted by the Advertiser.

Their spokesman said: “We are paying for hotel accommodation while repairs are carried out.”

Redecorating work following the fire was also being undertaken. Two roof leaks reported during the year were said to have been repaired.

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