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Cable thieves left people homeless

Up to 200 people have been left temporarily homeless after thieves stole power cables at a block of flats.

The cables were taken from Bradford City Exchange building between midnight on 11 April and 09:00 BST on 12 April.

Fire chiefs were forced to issue a prohibition order, meaning residents cannot return home until the building is declared safe.

The incident affected the building’s fire alarm system, emergency lighting, primary lighting, sprinkler system and internal water supply, West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) said.

West Yorkshire Police said they were investigating a commercial robbery at the site.

West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) said the theft, which took place in the basement, had caused “extensive damage to the electrical supply to the whole of the building”.

District Commander GM Kovacs said: “The fire alarm system, emergency lighting, primary lighting, sprinkler system, firefighting lifts and internal water supply have all been affected by the power outage.

“It is our duty to ensure the safety of the residents.”

The fire service said it only served prohibition notices where the risk to people’s life was “so serious that we must prohibit or restrict the use of all, or part of the premises”

Some people have been forced to sleep in their cars, on friends’ sofas and floors, or move into hotels.

Ilona Pawlowska said she and her partner had slept in their car for several days after being evacuated from the building on Hall Ings and then moved into a hotel.

“All our clothes are dirty. We’ve been in the building three times to exchange our clothes and don’t get any help – I feel devastated, I feel homeless,” she said.

Her partner Kamil Tyscka said: “I don’t know what is going on here, it’s a big joke.”

Mr Tyscka said MLM Property Management, which runs the building, had been “no help”.

Dara Ogunmoyero was also evacuated from the building and stayed in a hotel for several days before moving in with a friend.

“It was very depressing having to leave,” he said.

Dara Ogunmoyero said he had no idea when he could return home

“We’re not getting any refund, so it makes no sense to keep spending money on hotels, so I had to go and stay with my friend, but there’s no privacy and I’m sleeping on the floor.

“MLM just told us to cancel our contracts and look for somewhere else.

“They didn’t provide any comfort or say when we will be back, so everyone is just out there angry and depressed.”

Mr Kovacs said a “multi-agency approach” including input from the council, Environmental Health and emergency planners had been adopted.

He added: “It is our duty to ensure the safety of the residents. We only serve prohibition notices where the risk to people’s life is so serious that we must prohibit or restrict the use of all, or part of the premises until specified matters have been remedied.”

In a statement MLM Property Management said: “We are sorry that the residents of City Exchange are experiencing this situation and we are working hard to resolve it as quickly as possible so they can return to their homes.

“In the meantime, all residents have been advised to seek alternative accommodation which will be funded by the insurance.”

The company said it would keep residents up to date with any developments through their letting agents.

(Source: BBC)

(Image: Tir Lettings)

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