‘My three weeks of hell in freezing home’

Mr Carl Aspinall who has been without gas over christmas. Photo Ben Parsons
Mr Carl Aspinall who has been without gas over christmas. Photo Ben Parsons

A MAN who moved to Burnley for a new start said he had the Christmas and New Year from hell after he was left without gas and hot water for the festive period.

Mr Carl Aspinall (36), of Westgate, has claimed he was forced to sleep in his clothes and do press-ups and sit-ups to keep warm after two weeks without central heating or a gas fire, during the coldest winter for decades.

Mr Aspinall, who recently moved from Rossendale, said an engineer had been due to come out to connect the gas supply at his new home on Christmas Eve, but failed to turn up. He later rang the emergency number provided by housing association Eaves Brook, to ask for his supply to be uncapped.

Unemployed Mr Aspinall, who is in receipt of benefits, was told no one was available to come out and instead they offered him two electric heaters. He said he declined the offer because he had insufficient money to pay for the electric to power them.

On January 4th, when the office re-opened, he contacted Eaves Brook, and an engineer visited his home, but there was a problem with the boiler and another appointment was made for the following day when his gas fire was reconnected. His central heating and hot water was back on this week – three weeks after he reported the problem.

Bosses at Eaves Brook said they had been swamped with calls over the festive period due to the severe weather.

“To be left without heating for a fortnight is just scandalous. I’m really, really annoyed,” said Mr Aspinall.

“This totally ruined my Christmas. There was gas there and I had paid for it. It was freezing.”

On Christmas night, Mr Aspinall stayed at his dad’s house in Rossendale but returned to his flat on Boxing Day where he said he had to exercise to keep warm.

“It was so cold I didn’t dare move from my bed.”

Mr Paul Stanner, neighbourhood manager for Eaves Brook, said: “Private and social landlords and heating engineers across the UK have recently been swamped with calls, due to the ongoing severe weather.

“Over the past month our service centre has received an extremely high volume of calls, and unfortunately during this time staff have had to prioritise calls as they come in, taking into consideration vulnerable customers, older people and those with disabilities.

“As with every customer who experiences such a failure we offered to provide temporary heaters until such time as we could effect a repair, but on this occasion the offer was declined by the customer.

“Our engineers have been on site and he can now use his gas fire.

“We had to make a temporary repair to his boiler until a new part arrived and was installed.”