‘I thought we were going to die’ - Boiling water flooded Leeds woman’s flat

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A Leeds woman has spoken about the “terrifying” moment thousands of litres of boiling water flooded her flat.

Treana Wilson, 61, was in bed in the early hours of September 24 when she heard a loud hissing noise.

Liberty View Apartments in Morley is managed by Yorkshire Housing. Picture: James Hardisty

Liberty View Apartments in Morley is managed by Yorkshire Housing. Picture: James Hardisty

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“When I opened the airing cupboard door, the hot water pipe had burst and it was gushing out at speed," she said.

"I obviously screamed and it woke my daughter who came running. The water was gushing that fast.”

Ms Wilson’s neck was scalded by the steam as she tried to turn off the water.

Thousands of litres of boiling hot water flooded Treana Wilson's flat in Morley. Picture: James Hardisty

Thousands of litres of boiling hot water flooded Treana Wilson's flat in Morley. Picture: James Hardisty

Unable to reach the stopcock, which was behind the burst pipe, 21-year-old daughter Tiffany dialled 999.

Ms Wilson said: “We got 12 flats’ central heating and hot water into one flat. It was steamy and so hot.

“When the water was coming out at speed, a million thoughts were going through my mind. ‘How do I save my family?’ It was scary because I didn’t have time to think.

“Within 10 minutes, we were in six inches of scalding hot water.”

'It was just pure fear'

As the water rose inside the flat, Ms Wilson was forced to open her front door, sending litres of water surging down two flights of stairs and eventually bringing down a ceiling on a floor below.

“It was just fear, pure fear, going through my mind,” she said.

Two police officers arrived in minutes and immediately called for backup. Soon, there were eight police officers in the flat.

After nearly an hour, the water was disconnected at the mains, turning off the water for the entire block.

West Yorkshire Police confirmed that police were called out at 2.32am and the water was stopped at 3.20am. An ambulance also attended the scene.

Ms Wilson said: “My daughter has burns all over her feet and I got burns on my neck and my hand. It was just terrifying. Terrifying. I thought we were going to die.”

The family spent the night in the hallway of the building.

“Yorkshire Housing promised faithfully they’d be here at eight o’clock in the morning with a wet vac," Ms Wilson said. "I was phoning all day and they never came, the next day they never came.”

Worried about Tiffany’s six-month-old son, who has respiratory problems, the family felt they were forced to take the clear-up into their own hands.

Tiffany used buckets to empty the water from the flat and the family brought in help.

She said: “My friend, he’s a big lad, took him five hours to drag my carpets out.”

To make matters worse, Ms Wilson believes the situation was preventable.

“I’m the eighth person in six weeks this has happened to,” she said.

She said seven other flats in the building have had burst pipes, though the Wilsons’ flat had by far the most damage.

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System 'should be checked annually'

If the system had been checked since it had been installed or after the first leaks were reported, she said that she would not have gone through the ordeal.

She said: “The plumber who came last night after four days of waiting said they’re meant to be checked every year."

He told her that pipes can loosen due the the vibrations generated by large communal boilers.

Liberty View Apartments has a communal boiler, which is more energy efficient than each flat having its own boiler, but whenever there is a problem it affects the whole building.

Ms Wilson said: “My neighbours came to me on Tuesday and said when it happened to them Yorkshire Housing had promised faithfully all the other flats would be checked and they never were.

“It shouldn’t have never happened to us. After the second one, alarms should have gone. It could be life-threatening.”

Other flats in the building have potentially loose pipes that have still not been checked, she added.

Liberty View Apartments was built in 2011 and opened to tenants in 2012, replacing the old shops at Morley Bottoms. The block of flats was built by Yorkshire Housing in partnership with Leeds City Council, Aire Valley Homes and the Homes and Communities Agency.

Yorkshire Housing offered her alternative accommodation, though Ms Wilson feels the company is not doing enough.

She added: “They won’t take responsibility, it’s unacceptable.”

Customer safety of 'paramount importance

A Yorkshire Housing spokeswoman said: “Customer safety is of paramount importance to us and we strive to carry out any repair issues our customers raise as swiftly as possible. We can confirm that repairs have been undertaken at Liberty View and the faulty parts that caused the issue have been replaced.

“We will continue to provide support to our affected customers and ensure that they are comfortable.“

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