A young mum is furious after being told she and her 10-month-old baby will have to stay in a soot-stained and smoke-damaged council flat following a fire.
Stacey McClurg, 20, says Sanctuary Housing Group is putting her child’s health at risk by not offering them alternative accommodation, expecting them to stay put while repair work is carried out on the flat she rents from them in Somerset Road, Newton .
And she claims the authority ignored repeated requests for smoke alarms at the property – only fitting them after the blaze, which happened last weekend after Stacey’s partner fell asleep on the sofa not realising the hob was still on.
“It was sheer luck he woke up because there were no alarms in the property,” said Stacey, who works at Poundland in Chester.
“If he’d not woken up when he did he’d not be here today.
“Since we first moved in here two months ago I’d been asking them to install smoke alarms and they kept telling me someone would be round to fit some soon, but nobody did.
“We spent ages decorating the flat and now it’s just a total mess.
“The smoke damage is terrible, there’s dust and soot everywhere – it’s completely uninhabitable for anyone to live in, yet they’re expecting me to let my baby stay here.
“Luckily my mum lives up the road so we’ve been staying there as the housing group don’t seem to want to know.
“Social Services would take my baby off me if I brought her anywhere near here, and do you know what, I wouldn’t blame them,” she added.
So concerned was Stacey, she enlisted the help of Chester’s Lord Mayor, Cllr Bob Rudd , who has contacted Sanctuary to ask them to review their action as a matter of urgency.
He told The Chronicle: ”When I asked a council officer at CWaC to get the email address of a contact they refused and I was given the general email for all housing enquiries.”
He added: “I wasn’t exactly happy with that response but I’ve since managed to get in touch with the head of housing operations who are looking into the case.
“Whilst I haven’t visited the property I’ve tried to get them to urgently review action for the sake of Stacey’s young baby.”
A spokesperson for Sanctuary said: “We’ve already cleaned the property, and two walls are due to be re-plastered next week so the tenants can redecorate.
“During our last gas service in March 2014, the smoke alarm was tested and found to be working properly.
“It is the tenant’s responsibility to carry out regular tests on the smoke alarm, as well as replace any batteries.”