Mother-of-five furious after contractors cause gas leak ‘could have blown up house’ on Marquess Estate

The Marquess Estate in Canonbury. Picture: Google Maps

The Marquess Estate in Canonbury. Picture: Google Maps - Credit: Archant

A mother-of-five was told her Newington Green house was moments away from being blown up after work to replace her cooker caused a gas leak.

Lernice Dale and her children live in Rona Walk on the Marquess Estate and recently had their kitchen refurbished by contractors working for Southern Housing Group.

But after the installation Lernice smelt gas and, panicking, immediately called up Southern.

She told the Gazette: "I called the emergency number and described what had happened and they said if I left it any longer the house would have been blown up."

The Health and Safety Executive was informed about the leak and launched an investigation.

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"What frightens me the most is that I have a 16-year-old who cooks at home," added Lernice, who has lived on the estate for four years. "Anything could have happened."

To make matters worse, she was told by Southern to speak to its contractors directly when lodging a complaint.

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But when she asked them to send her the gas safety certificate, she was emailed one that had the wrong date of installation and the wrong model of cooker on it.

"They had listed the cooker that I had before the replacement," she continued. "If it had blown up they would have used this certificate to show the work they had done," she said.

Lernice is now applying for compensation from Southern for the danger her family was put in. She has been asked to draw up a timeline of events so Southern can investigate what happened.

Lernice's MP Emily Thornberry has also written to Southern, calling for a formal investigation into the incident. She said: "Southern should be taking immediate steps to make sure the properties this engineer has worked on are safe and that their gas safety certificates are accurate."

A Southern spokesperson said: "The safety of our residents is our primary concern.

"In this case the group's gas contractor attended our resident's home and resolved the issue immediately after it was reported.

"We are investigating what happened and we are working with our contractors to ensure that this does not happen again.

"We have been in regular contact with our resident and will continue to support them and resolve any continuing concerns."

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