Family face carbon monoxide
A Bradford family say they have been put through ‘hell’ over the past five months with all residents of the home suffering from carbon monoxide poisoning and persistent exposure to harmful gases.
The house, on Powell Avenue, Bradford, is currently owned by housing provider, Incommunities and has been subject to a host of complaints since the current occupants moved in on the 7th June.
Mr Zahid Shah, 39, and his pregnant partner Mrs Zolaikhan Bibi, 32, moved into the home with their three children and have been struggling to cope with the conditions ever since.
A leaking boiler, rusty door handles, potent stenches and exposed paving slabs have all been challenges for the family to overcome with little aid from their landlords.
After spending more than £1,800 of the families own money to renovate the house with paint and plastering, Mr Shah had hoped that this new home would be the perfect place to raise his growing family. However, problems soon began to arise with Mrs Bibi first smelling gas in the home days after moving in.
“I was upstairs at the time and could tell immediately something was wrong,” she explained. “I could smell gas coming from downstairs so we called the gas board and they confirmed there was a leak from the boiler.
“There was an old woman who used to live here, her daughter lives across the road and she told us that there were a number of gas leaks whilst her grandmother was here. Her grandma used to always complain about streamy eyes as well, things we have been going over the past four or five months.”
The family’s boiler was reviewed a further five times and condemned thrice before it was removed and replaced with a brand new one by the Incommunities landlord.
After suffering from headaches and sleepiness, Mrs Bibi, and her family, was told to have their blood checked after the maternity nurses became concerned about the health of the eight-month pregnant mother.
“Initially we were told by our doctor that everything was normal but when we had the tests done by the maternity department, the results showed that every one of us had more than double the normal carbon monoxide levels in our blood,” Mr Shah explained.
“It was shocking, I have seen what these kind of numbers mean for healthy people but for a pregnant mother, I don’t even want to contemplate the effects it could have on our child.”
Three-year-old Zulqurnaian Mehdi Sherazi had the highest levels of carbon monoxide in his blood at 2.9, (recommended 1.1) whilst his two sisters, seven-year-old Zohrah Batool Sherazi, (2.6) and Rizah-e-Zainab Sherazi (2.8) were also well above the average levels.
Mr Shah now insists that the main issue surrounds a ‘potent stench’ which is coming from underneath the floorboards. Despite attempts to correct the issue, the tenant states that the smell still returns and is a ‘major hindrance for the family’.
Bradford Councillor, Naveeda Ikram, has supported the family since hearing about the conditions and demanded action to be taken to help the family.
She said: “What we are demanding first of all, is that this family needs rehousing as a matter of urgency to a property where they are completely safe. It is something which should have been done one or two months ago when these problems first began.
“I wrote to Ms Geraldine Howley, one of the chief executives of Incommunities, on the 11th October and received an acknowledgement letter soon after yet it did not assure action would be taken.
“The big point is we are talking about carbon monoxide poisoning here and a pregnant mother. This family is clearly upset with the system and clearly Incommunities need to act and change their system. They need to pay Mr Shah back the money he has invested and accommodate these people elsewhere straight away.”
An Incommunities spokesperson said: “All the appropriate checks have been carried out by independent gas engineers on several occasions and no trace of a Carbon Monoxide leak has been found at the customers’ property.
“As a caring and responsible landlord, within the last month, we have fitted a new gas boiler and an electric fire to replace a gas one at the address.”