Falkirk Council 'mix-up' leaves angry tenants with fire damage
A reported “administrative error” resulted in tenants at a block of flats waiting for over a week to have fire damage cleaned up and left one woman with a collapsed ceiling.
Caroline McManus (61) has been living in her first floor flat in Grahamsdyke Street, Laurieston, for a week following a fire which broke out in the property upstairs overnight on Sunday, July 18.
"You could see the fire belching out of the windows right above me – the firefighters came round and got us out.”
The trauma of the fire was just the start of Caroline’s troubles, however.
When her home was deemed safe to move back into last week, she began trying to get Falkirk Council to come out and clean up the damaged caused by the blaze without success.
Caroline, who has lived in the flat for two years, said: "I’ve been in contact with the council but they have done nothing. They told me the close had been cleaned up, but it hadn’t.
"There has not been one person back here since they came to see the flats after the fire. I’m so stressed with this – I’ve had enough and can’t deal with it any more. Our houses are stinking and the close is burned out.”
Things got worse for Caroline on Monday – over a week after the fire – when her ceiling collapsed due to the water damage the premises above sustained as firefighters used their hoses to extinguish the blaze.
"I knew the ceiling was going to collapse,” said Caroline. “I told the council it was going to go and they did nothing about it. All the water’s got to go somewhere and it was dripping through from upstairs all the time”
"They told me it has been fixed, but how can it have been fixed when my ceiling has come down.”
Another neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “The council said the work had been done then they came back to us and said it hadn’t because one of the team had come down with COVID-19.
"There doesn’t seem to be any communication between departments at the council. If someone said the clean-up work has been done, there should have been someone coming out to sign off on it.
"If they did that they would see quite clearly the work had not been done.”
Falkirk Council’s contractors arrived to clear up the close yesterday morning – 10 days after the fire – when The Falkirk Herald was still at the premises.
It was stated there had been some kind of administrative error or lack of communication where someone had mistakenly “ticked a box” after an initial site investigation had been carried out at the premises saying the job had been completed when it had not.
Falkirk Council made no reference to any such error in its response to The Falkirk Herald’s enquiry, but did confirm an inspection had been carried out at the premises.
A spokesperson said: “The property has been inspected and repairs will be carried out to rectify any damage caused by the fire.”