Shivering Sandra, 75, slams council after waiting 34 hours for boiler to be fixed


Shivering pensioner Sandra Powell has slammed the council – after waiting 34 hours for her boiler to be fixed.

The 75-year-old – who has osteoporosis, osteoarthritis and asthma – reported the problem to Stoke-on-Trent City Council‘s repairs firm Unitas at 7.20am on Friday.

And without hot water and central heating she had to rely on her electric fire and thick dressing gown until the problem was fixed at 5pm on Saturday.

Tenant Sandra lives in a council bungalow on Lightwood Road, in Normacot.

She said: “The heating has basically been on since October so I knew something was wrong. I woke up at about 3am and I had no heating. It was really cold, but I decided to go back to bed and ring in the morning.

“At 7.20am I rang the emergency number. The person on the phone said to me, ‘couldn’t you have waited until 9am?’, and I just said, this is the emergency number which I have been told to ring.

“I was told someone would be in touch by midday. But 12pm came and went and I hadn’t heard anything so I rang them again and asked the man to check that it had been classed as an emergency. He said it had and that someone would be out to me by 4pm, so I waited.

“It got to 4pm and it was getting dark and still no-one had been. I rang yet again and they told me someone would be out that evening.

“I’ve got two Jack Russells who are the first to let me know if someone is at the door, and I didn’t hear a peep all evening, no-one came.”

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Sandra called the emergency number again at 7.20am on Saturday.

She added: “I told them that it had been 24 hours since I first called and they told me they would put through an emergency call-out. This time they told me they would make sure someone came out that day.

“I had no hot water so I couldn’t have a proper wash. I have an electric fire but I can’t have that on for too long because I struggle to breathe as it makes the air so dry.

“I was dressed in my warm loungewear suit, a cardigan, a thick dressing gown and I was still shivering. We had snow not long ago so it was freezing.”

Sandra eventually decided to get in touch with her local councillor – Sadaqat Maqsoom – who offered to take heaters to her home and called the council. And next thing an engineer arrived at 4.40pm on Saturday.

She added: “Sadaqat’s involvement has got to have helped. If he hadn’t stepped in I could easily still be waiting for someone to come out now. I thanked him afterwards as he really did help me.

“The man who came round told me he had done 35 other jobs that day, but that’s 35 other houses that he has been to and interacted with people, and I’m in lockdown. He did have a mask and gloves on.

“My boiler is 14 years old and the man who repaired it said it should be replaced.

“I’m speaking out to help anyone else who might have a similar experience. I pushed and reached out to Sadaqat, but other elderly people may not have the perseverance that I have. Something could have been done quicker.”

StokeonTrentLive has approached the council for a statement regarding Sandra’s comments.





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