Herne Hill residents living in fear after carbon monoxide emissions reported

One resident was taken to hospital and others were scared to go home after high carbon monoxide emissions were reported at a block of flats in Herne Hill last Tuesday. 

Dorchester Court tenants said a gas engineer checking a temporary boiler detected readings of CO high enough to be fatal to those in blocks one to four if windows had been left open.

The Dorchester Court Tenant’s Union tweeted saying letting agency Property Partners failed to act on and inform residents of the emissions even once emergency services were called.

A union member said: “I said to them on the phone, do you really want to have Grenfell on your hands?

“There are residents who were too scared to come home that night. 

“How can we sleep well at night when they won’t tell us something that is a huge risk to our health?”

EMERGENCY EVACUATION: Buildings were evacuated as emergency services arrived

They claimed an emergency locksmith had to be called after an agency staff member threatened to call the police on engineers trying to gain access to the boiler.

The also said it fell to residents to knock on doors and inform one another of the situation and check for health issues.

Residents called 999 when someone reported symptoms of CO poisoning.

The Fire Brigade, Police and London Ambulance Service were on scene at 3pm.

Two people were treated on site and one was taken to hospital.

Property Partners sent an email at 2.15pm mentioning a problem with the boiler and another at 4.57pm acknowledging the potential gas leak and suggesting anyone with CO poisoning symptoms seek assistance. 

They said the initial carbon monoxide emissions were around 30ppm, which is below the allowable limit.

A union member said they had since been told by an SGN engineer that the reading was 53ppm. 

Property Partners said the SGN and Boiler Sure Hire engineers could not find anything wrong in the temporary boiler room and measurements taken after boiler burners were recalibrated showed the CO levels in the vicinity to be acceptable.

They said: “Clearly there was no major leak.”

The union member claimed the letting agents made them feel like they were overreacting.

She said: “You feel like you’re being gaslit by your own landlord.

“Residents here are really scared of speaking out and that’s not a good place to be in.

“It’s the power imbalance between us.”

Labour MP Helen Hayes tweeted: ‘This is shocking & deeply worrying.’

Dorchester Court’s landlord is Manaquel, owned by Heinrich Feldman who is featured on the Sunday Times Rich List and worth more than £200 million. 

The tenant’s union was formed in 2019 following hot water outages.

Protests occurred earlier this year when proposals to build penthouses were put forward and the agency refused to meet with residents to discuss rent reductions during the pandemic.

Manaquel were contacted for comment regarding the union member’s comments and failed to respond.

Featured image credit: Dorchester Court Tenant’s Union

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