How Edinburgh family narrowly escaped having their home blown up after workman's blunder over boiler

No-one told mother-of-two her water had been switched off

Kelly Jeffrey needs a new kitchen to accommodate a new boiler after her old one was destroyed
Kelly Jeffrey needs a new kitchen to accommodate a new boiler after her old one was destroyed

A MOTHER-OF-TWO says her home came close to being blown up after workmen turned off the water tank supplying her back boiler without telling her.

Kelly Jeffrey, 30, blames the city council for the blunder which has left her without heating or hot water at her flat in Stevenson Drive, Stenhouse.

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The saga began after a flood on January 13 in one of the other flats in the stair, which includes both council and privately-owned properties.

The back boiler behind Kelly Jeffrey's gas fire had been burning without any water in it, causing an explosion risk

But Ms Jeffrey, a private tenant, did not realise there was a knock-on problem for her until a week later when she found she had no hot water or heating.

A plumber sent by her landlord tried to mend the boiler, which sits behind a gas fire, but then discovered the water had been turned off at the tank in the attic.

When the supply was switched back on the water came pouring out of the fire, flooding her living room.

Ms Jeffrey, who has a 12-year-old daughter and an eight-year-old son, said: “The back boiler had been burning away without any water in it and it caused holes in the boiler.

“It was lucky it was that scenario rather than it just continuing to burn until it went bang.”

She said it was her tank which had caused the flood in her neighbour’s flat by overflowing, but when the council sent out a plumber he should have told her he was switching off the water and made sure it was switched on again after the repair was completed.

“He didn’t inform me when he switched it off and he has forgotten to switch it back on,” she said. “There was no communication at all.”

And she believes she is lucky to have avoided disaster.

“The water that was in the tank kept the boiler going for a while and then there was no water in the system. The boiler was burning with no water in it. We don’t know how long it was like that. There are gas pipes there. Everything could have gone up in flames.”

Ms Jeffrey said the council did not seem interested when she rang them. “They told me to see to it through my house insurance.”

But after the Evening News approached the council, officials did contact Ms Jeffrey.

“They came out, but they are still not taking the responsibility for turning the tank off,” she said. “They say they are still investigating.”

Ms Jeffrey said her landlord was now going to install a new combi boiler and put in a new kitchen to accommodate it.

“We could be waiting weeks or months for the council to do anything and I’m still sitting with no hot water or heating,” she said.

“My landlord is just getting everything fixed and he will see about taking it through the court.”

A council spokeswoman acknowledged a water tank in the attic had been switched off but she said they were still looking into who was responsible.

"We understand this is a very distressing time for all affected. We’re working to resolve it.”