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Firefighters called to help sick patient out of apartment block

FIREFIGHTERS had to help get a sick patient down five flights of stairs because heavy rainfall had cascaded into the apartment block and left the lifts out of service two days earlier.

The resident at Henllys, Wind Street, Swansea, required help for a medical issue and had contacted the Welsh Ambulance Service.

A fire crew from Swansea Central was then called out to help the paramedics.

The incident happened two days after water had gushed into the building, which a resident has claimed could have been avoided if roof maintenance had been carried out.

The building’s owner, Coastal Housing Group, said a section of flat roof was the source of a leak into a fifth-floor flat, but that a larger leak which damaged communal areas resulted from a pipe becoming detached due to the volume of water trying to get through.

It has apologised for the inconvenience and is aiming to get at least one of the building’s two lifts back in action before November 9.

Henllys resident Stan Robinson said water poured through a corner of the roof near the lift shift last Wednesday afternoon.

“It hit the fifth floor, and then the fourth floor, where I live,” he said. “It flooded all the corridor.”

Even the second and third-floor corridors were, he claimed, “almost ankle deep” in water.

Mr Robinson, who is chairman of the residents’ association at Henllys, said the roof has a low wall running round the outside which held in water if drains and gutters were blocked.

He claimed that seagull mess was cleared from the roof by the first maintenance worker to come out after the flood. The following day, he said, several maintenance staff got onto the roof and were “clearing guttering”.

“Planned preventative maintenance used to happen – by the sounds of it, it has slipped,” he said.

He added that the complex has several residents with limited mobility, including one who works in a supermarket and so has to get out regularly.

Mr Robinson claimed that one flat was “ruined”, with another on the floor below damaged.

Andrew Thomas, Coastal Housing head of maintenance, said: “Whilst the flat roof at Henllys was the source of a leak into one top-floor property, a second, larger leak into communal areas resulted from a section of pipework detaching due to the sheer volume and force of water attempting to pass through.

“I think most people would recognise we’re seeing an increase in extreme weather events and occasionally existing infrastructure can struggle to cope.”

He said the social housing provider responded promptly.

“There were quickly around 15 people on site, managing the situation and providing reassurance to residents,” he said.

Mr Thomas confirmed that both lifts had been taken out of service due to the leak.

He said: “All residents have been informed and we’ve apologised for any inconvenience and offered any assistance people may need until these can be put back into service.”

He said a vast majority of the residents preferred to be contacted individually, rather then through the residents’ association.

“The feedback we’re getting from individual residents is that, whilst appreciative of the offer, they’re managing okay,” he said.

Mr Thomas’s response came before the fire service call-out to help the patient.

A Mid and West Wales Fire Service spokesman said it attended Henllys on 12.44am on October 30, leaving around 40 minutes later.

“Firefighters assisted the ambulance service in transferring a casualty from a fifth-floor flat to the ground floor,” he said.

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