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Bury St Edmunds families complain to Havebury housing association after sprinkler system causes flooding

A persistently faulty sprinkler system inside a block of flats has been blamed for causing thousands of pounds worth of damage.

Residents of James School Place in Risbygate Street, Bury St Edmunds , said an incident on Monday was the third time in four years Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service had been called out after sprinklers started pouring overnight.

Tracey Hughes estimates £8,000 of damage was caused to her flat after the deluge.

Lynda Brown, Tracey Hughes and Dean Stanley have been clearing up after the sprinker fault at James School Place Picture by Mark Westley
Lynda Brown, Tracey Hughes and Dean Stanley have been clearing up after the sprinker fault at James School Place Picture by Mark Westley

She said: “It has totally wrecked everything, the floor boards and even the skirting boards are bubbling. We are traumatised.”

The 56-year-old, who says she is in general poor health and has depression, added: “We are now living in damp, which is unhealthy.”

The fire service was called out shortly before 3am on Monday morning and called a stop after around 40 minutes on site.

The flats are owned by Havebury Housing, whom some residents blame for failing to sort the fault with the sprinklers.

Lynda Brown said she suffered damage to her possessions shortly after moving in four years ago, and then more severely on Christmas Eve 2018 when water came flooding in.

The 64-year-old, who is disabled with mobility problems, needed to live with her neighbour Tracey for a period afterwards.

She said: “It took more than four hours for the fire service to turn everything off, it was unbelievable. I was prepared for Christmas, and everything was ruined.”

Ms Brown said she was offered some compensation by Havebury but she had been left to replace some possessions, including her prized curtains, out of her own pocket.

Tracey’s son Dean Stanley, 36, who also lives at James School Place, said: “We are angry because Havebury sent a technician to look at the pipes last week and they said it was OK.

“The fire service said the codes to stop the sprinklers should be made available to them, but they could not find them.”

A spokesman for Havebury said: “We are currently investigating an unexpected sprinkler fault at James School Place which caused damage to a tenant’s home.

“We are supporting the tenant in question whilst proactively working with Suffolk Fire and Rescue Service to ensure this does not happen again.

“We apologise for the inconvenience and distress this incident caused our tenants at James School Place and thank the emergency services for their assistance regarding this matter.”

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