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Family of five were poisoned by fumes from flue in the loft
AN investigation has been launched after a family were left with deadly gas pouring into their loft.
Karine and Dean Whitehead found a flue pipe, which pumps poisonous gas from the boiler out of the house, was damaged when they ventured into their loft last Thursday.
The mum-of-three, who, along with her family, had been suffering from spells of unexplained illness, immediately contacted South Essex Homes, and was told to turn off her boiler.
The company, which manages council-owned homes, has now launched an investigation to find out how the pipe became damaged.
Karine, 28, who lives in Hornby Avenue, Westcliff with her children Sekeilie, ten, Baylon, eight and three-year-old Caysen, said: “As soon as I found out I was so worried about the safety of my children.
“They have all had sore throats and I have been feeling dizzy and a bit sick, but I dismissed it as being poorly and illness going round.
“We went into the attic to bring some stuff down and my husband saw the pipe was not connected so instead of the gases being taken out of the house, carbon monoxide and other gases were building in there.
“I don’t know how long it has been going on for but I have been feeling ill for about three weeks.”
What caused the damage is a mystery. Diamond Build contractors, hired by South Essex Homes, replaced the tiles on the roof of the home in January, but insist they never touched the flue pipe as part of their work.
In addition, South Essex Homes said the property passed its gas safety check in April following a visit from a specialist gas contractor.
Karine added: “What happened is dangerous and the lives of my children were endangered because of it.
“The whole thing has really worried me and I have booked an appointment with the doctor to check my health.”
A spokeswoman from South Essex Homes confirmed it was not yet clear what caused the damage to the pipe or when it happened, but a gas engineer fixed the damaged pipe on Saturday.
Chief executive Mike Gatrell said: “Although they are extremely rare, we take incidents such as this very seriously.
“We have asked the relevant contractors to work with our officers to carry out a full assessment of what occurred at this particular home.
“We put residents’ safety at the forefront of our approach to maintaining homes and are concerned even at the suggestion any individual’s safety may have been placed at risk.”