Problems at Shuttleworth House sheltered housing complex

Bradford Telegraph and Argus: Arthur Woodhouse with his daughter Shirley Thornton outside the lift in his Incommunities flat Arthur Woodhouse with his daughter Shirley Thornton outside the lift in his Incommunities flat

The family of a wheelchair-bound pensioner who was rescued by firefighters when a lift broke down at a Bradford sheltered housing complex say they fear for his safety in the event of an emergency.

Arthur Woodhouse, 96, lives on the top floor of the three-storey Shuttleworth House sheltered housing complex in Thornton Road.

But persistent problems with the building’s lift have left Shirley Thornton concerned about what would happen to her dad if there was a blaze at the complex, as he cannot use the stairs without being carried and the lift is the only way he can get out alone.

Social housing group Incommunities, which runs the complex, has insisted all fire regulations are met and said weekly checks were now being made on the lift. But Mrs Thornton said: “We were told he would have to stay in his flat with the door closed and wait for the fire brigade, which frightens the life out of me.”

Mrs Thornton, 78, said her dad is regularly left stranded upstairs and downstairs by the building’s problematic lift.

She said it recently broke down three times in six days. The first time saw Mr Woodhouse, Mrs Thornton and her son marooned on the first floor when the lift packed in. They had just returned from a day out.

“We were there for two and a half hours until it was repaired,” she said.

The second time, Mr Woodhouse was unable to go on a shopping trip provided by an access bus after the lift broke down and left him stranded in his flat.

On the third occasion, Mrs Thornton’s sister and her husband returned from a shopping trip with Mr Woodhouse to find the lift not working again.

Mrs Thornton said they pressed an alarm and a member of staff suggested carrying Mr Woodhouse, his wheelchair and the shopping up the stairs.

They resorted to ringing the fire service and a crew from Fairweather Green station carried Mr Woodhouse up to his flat.

“It is causing a lot of worry to the family,” said Mrs Thornton. “It has been going on for so long and it has happened so often.”

An Incommunities spokesman said: “We apologise for any inconvenience. We are also carrying out weekly on-site checks to ensure the lift is operating effectively.

“We place the highest priority on all our customers’ safety and well-being. In this instance the Safe and Sound contact centre, which handles alarm calls, did offer assistance to the family but were informed they would contact the fire service direct. We can confirm that we have had no reports logged of faults with the customer’s pendant and pull cords at his home.”

Earlier this month, the Telegraph & Argus reported how other residents at Shuttleworth House had also complained about the frequency at which the lift broke down.

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