Hundreds of Islington homes ‘at risk of hidden heater fires’

Firefighters discovered a still-on heater boxed in behind a Finsbury flat's wall

Firefighters discovered a still-on heater boxed in behind a Finsbury flat's wall - Credit: Archant

Hundreds of homes in Islington could be at risk from dangerous, hidden heaters that could cause a fire.

Earlier this month, five friends five friends made a lucky escape after a heater - permanently boxed in and switched on - sparked a blaze in the King’s Square Estate.

But it has now emerged these potentially fatal contraptions were installed in hundreds of properties across the estate, and the Finsbury Estate, off St John Street.

One former resident, who asked not to be named, said: “They were meant to be a kind of airing cupboard.

“About six years ago the council came round and decommissioned them all, but I think they only took the fuses out, when really they should have taken the wires out and everything.

“But obviously some of them are still switched on - and when you get private renters who don’t know where they are they could box them in, it could be very serious.

“They were in all my friends’ houses in the Finsbury and King’s Square Estates, so there could be hundreds of homes in danger.

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“It is very worrying.”

Islington Council confirmed the heaters had been present on both estates, but work had been carried out in 2005 and 2006 to decommission as many as possible.

A spokesman said: “Drying cupboards would have had the electrical supply to them completely disconnected. In some flats the drying cupboards were actually completely removed but some tenants chose to keep the cupboard structure to use for storage.”

“We are contacting the current tenants [of leaseholder flats] to make sure all electricity supplies have since been disconnected.

“The fire at President House was in a leaseholder flat. We will be contacting all leaseholders in the building to advise them that they should contact their own qualified electrician to check any drying cupboards that are still in use, and to seek the opinion of a qualified electrician if they have any doubts or concerns.”