Cold comfort for pair with broken boiler

Andrea Craggs is angry that her family, including her disabled husband Paul Craggs have been left withouth heating for a week at Thirston Drive, Cramlington, after the council said they couldn't fix their boiler until next Thursday.
Andrea Craggs is angry that her family, including her disabled husband Paul Craggs have been left withouth heating for a week at Thirston Drive, Cramlington, after the council said they couldn't fix their boiler until next Thursday.

A DISABLED man was left without heating or hot water in his own home after his landlords took almost a week to fix his boiler.

Paul Craggs, was unable to have a bath or heat his home in Thirston Drive, Cramlington, after his landlords, Homes for Northumberland, took six days to make necessary repairs.

Paul, 47, suffers from arthrodesis in his leg as well as arthritis in his hips, knee, ankles and fingers.

He also relies on a wheelchair and mobility scooter to get around.

Paul’s wife Andrea, 43, said she is disgusted that it has taken this long to repair their boiler, which broke down last Tuesday, especially as her husband’s condition is made worse by the cold.

“My husband is disabled,” she said.

“We are living in a disabled property.

“We cannot be expected to go a week without heating. His joints are affected by the cold.

“I have a suppressed immune system so if I get flu I would need hospital treatment.”

Homes for Northumberland offered the couple some electric heaters to use temporarily until the problem is resolved.

Andrea argued, however, the electric heaters, as well as the gas fire and the immersion heater, would be too expensive to run.

She said: “My response to that is, who is going to be paying my gas and electricity bills?

“They said it would be just as cheap to run the heaters but I wasn’t convinced.

“The electricity would still be very high especially with an immersion heater.”

The couple were also unimpressed with the housing association’s suggestion that they and their two teenage children move in with family or friends until the boiler is repaired.

She said: “My husband cannot climb stairs. Our dining-room is our bedroom.

“They should have a separate solution especially for elderly and disabled people.

“They should put them in a hotel or bed and breakfast instead of asking them to look at alternatives and live with people who do not have the accommodation to suit a disabled person.”

The boiler was fixed on Monday.

Ian Johnson, director of property services at Homes for Northumberland, said: “I can confirm that we have visited Mrs Craggs to repair her boiler.

“We take repairs of this nature extremely seriously and we ensured that this property was not left completely without heating at any point.

“I understand that all forms of this tenant’s heating are now in working order.”