Northampton man left feeling ‘trapped and unsafe’ in his flat after damage from Christmas Day suspected arson still not dealt with

A fly-tipped sofa was set on fire causing smoke damage to the outside of a flat including cracked windows

Wednesday, 10th March 2021, 9:02 am

A Northampton man has been left feeling ‘trapped and unsafe’ after a suspected arson incident outside his flat on Christmas Day caused damage to his home, which has not yet been fixed.

Simon Mathews was confronted by flames when he opened the communal door out of his block of flats in Melbourne Walk, Abington on Christmas Day evening.

A fly-tipped sofa, which was in an outside walkway underneath Simon’s living room, had been set alight.

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Simon's flat is on both sides of the walkway where the fire was.
Simon's flat is on both sides of the walkway where the fire was.

The fire service dealt with the blaze and nobody was injured, but Simon’s flat was damaged.

Since the incident, the 46-year-old has contacted Northampton Partnership Homes numerous times to inform them of the damage, which includes cracked windows, melted electrical cables on the outside of the flat and smoke damage to the exterior, which has caused structural gaps in the brick work.

There was also no lighting in the communal hallway for around six weeks, according to Simon, but this issue has been fixed by the housing association.

Simon, who works as a security guard, said: “I must have contacted the association between 15 and 20 times about the damage either via email or on the phone.

The smoke damage has also caused windows to crack.

“I have sent them pictures and I have asked them and asked them to help, but they just haven’t sent anyone.

“As well as the damage, my whole flat stinks of smoke as did the hallway.

“The hallway was dealt with and cleaned, but they haven’t sent anyone to clean my flat. I have cleaned it as much as I can, but it still stinks.

“I just don’t like the fact that I’m coming home to somewhere, which I’m paying for, that is like a matchbox.

The tenant is concerned about the electrical wires that have melted and are now exposed.

“I feel safe and unwell and as they aren’t helping. I feel trapped.”

Northampton Partnership Homes has admitted it has not met its expected level of service and will visit Simon to discuss the remaining work with him today (March 5), after Chronicle & Echo contacted the association.

Gary Duckmanton, assistant director of property maintenance said: “I’m sorry for the delays Mr Mathews has experienced following the fire at Melbourne Walk.

"Although we made sure the area affected by the fire was safe, we haven’t followed up quickly enough on the remaining repairs.

"A member of my team will be visiting Mr Mathews on Friday (March 5) to agree the remaining work with him and we’ll make sure that it is carried out urgently.

"We have not met our expected level of service on this occasion and I will be contacting Mr Mathews to apologise for this.”

A spokeswoman for Northamptonshire Police added: “The incident happened at about 8.30pm in Melbourne Walk on Christmas Day 2020 when the unknown offender/s set fire to a sofa that was discarded in the street.

“It was left under an archway and as a result, minor damage was caused to the above flats.

“No arrests have been made but we’d still appeal for people with information to come forward.”

Anyone who knows anything about the fire should call police on 101.

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