A Croydon mum fears her flat is a ticking time bomb after her faulty boiler led to a gas explosion that shook her whole home.

The explosion caused the tiles to fly off the council flat roof and graze the tenant’s arm, only narrowly missing her head.

Donna Jakabfi, 50, and her daughter, have regularly complained to the council about the safety concerns around their gas boiler and the rYour Local Guardian: Hanging roof tiles Hanging roof tiles isk it poses to her eight and six-year-old sons.

Donna’s daughter, who wished to not be named, has occupied the council flat in Coulsdon’s Goodenough Way for the past eight years. 


She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) how the explosion on the August 10 shook her home.

She said: “I heard a loud bang. It sounded like when you run over a bottle on the road.

“Just above my front door, all the roof tiles blew out and all the tiles fell down. As that happened, another tile came down. It narrowly avoided my head but caught my arm and grazed it.

“When I called the council back, they told me that I shouldn’t have gone outside. I was just trying to make it safe for my children. There was a massive tile hanging above my door and if it falls it’s going to hurt someone.

 “One of the tiles knocked the wires down, which meant they were dangling in front of my door. I thought if my kids go running out the front door, which they probably will, they will go flying and pull out all the wires.

“In response the council said ‘well don’t go out then’. This was difficult as I’ve got stuff to do, and it’s my only way in or out. I have to take the kids to school. I told them I have children, what if one of them gets hurt. They said that’s ‘not my problem’.”

The flat is the only council owned property in the block, which forms part of the wider Tollers estate.

She told the Local Democracy Reporting Service (LDRS) she still feels she is being neglected by the council, despite never missing a bill payment and communicating clearly with them about her repairs.

She said: “They said they were going to send someone for the explosion damage and that I should stay in, so for a whole week I stayed in and did not go out. This meant I missed the school run. All this time they told me someone was coming, but no one came.

“They then told me someone turned up, but you weren’t in. This wasn’t true, no one turned up, and I’ve been here this entire time. Me and my neighbour kept our front doors open the entire week to make sure we didn’t miss them.”

Alongside the explosion, Donna’s daughter told the LDRS how the faulty boiler often makes a loud and persistent noise that shakes the property when it is operating.

She said: “The boiler screams and vibrates. It sounds like a helicopter trying to take off.” 

Your Local Guardian: Leaking pipework in the boiler cupboardLeaking pipework in the boiler cupboard

She also told the LDRS that these problems do not seem to affect the rest of the block as much as her.

She said: “The worst thing about this is if all this wasn’t going on and hadn’t had any of this trouble, I’d absolutely love where I live. All this has made me feel like there’s no point if it’s just going to blow up one day.”

Donna’s daughter has also experienced regular but intermittent electricity cuts, which have left her family without power for extended periods of time.

On one occasion, she told the LDRS how her power had been cut for 72 hours, which caused a recently bought list of fridge and freezer items to perish. 

She said: “I did a shop for the family on Monday, it was around £100 although this was not all fridge and freezer stuff. They said that is fine and that they will reimburse me for the fridge and freezer items that I lost.

“I complained to my local MP Chris Philp,  he said they should still be able to reimburse me. A couple of weeks went by, and I still hadn’t heard anything, so I got back in touch with the council to tell them I hadn’t been reimbursed. They said I need to speak to the housing officer.

“A few more weeks went by before my tenancy officer came back to tell me they couldn’t do anything about it and that any reimbursement will have to go through my insurance. I don’t have insurance. They didn’t tell me this at the start.”

Donna’s daughter told the LDRS how the ill-fated flat has a range of other issues that have been allowed to worsen due to the ongoing issues with the boiler.

These include a mini-leak from above the front door, which has resulted in discolouring in the ceiling.

She also spoke of how the pipes in the water cupboard constantly leaked and pointed to a bowl of water on the floor that was used to catch the persistent droplets.

She added: “I can’t sleep because I’m always having to replace that bowl.”

Some of the piping at the bottom of the boiler cupboard has also developed an unsightly fungal growth, which Donna’s daughter believes may be due to the constant leaking.

Your Local Guardian: Fungal outgrowth on the pipeworkFungal outgrowth on the pipework

Both Donna and her daughter feel the council should make more effort to address the situation, especially considering the deadly gas explosion on Galpin Road last August which claimed the life of four-year-old Sahara Salman.

They both feel the council is running the risk of letting history repeat itself.

A spokesperson for Croydon Council contractor K&T Heating said the company only started servicing the Coulsdon home in August, after the issues occurring.

They added: “We have since attended the property and are currently dealing with legacy issues left over from the previous contractor. K&T Heating are fully committed to providing excellent customer service to all clients and customers.”

Croydon Council was approached for comment but has not responded at the time of publication.