Dozens of residents have been forced from their homes after water began cascading through a block of flats when a sprinkler system was set off in what is believed to have been a deliberate act.
People living in the local authority-owned residential block in Matthew Street, near the top of Swansea ‘s High Street, discovered water coming into their flats from above shortly after 9am this morning.
The water could be seen coming into contact with electrical systems, pouring through the lift shaft, and cascading down stairwells, prompting residents to leave their homes. It is believed to have started on the tenth floor before running down through the building.
Residents have now been offered temporary accommodation by Swansea Council while it deals with the issues at the flats.
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Resident Declan Stuart said: “I was feeding my new-born, who is only eight and a half weeks old, when I noticed water running from the bathroom light. It was running over the fuse box, so I turned that off immediately, and coming from the lights.
“I got changed and went upstairs to see where it was coming from. The lift looked like it had a water feature. My flat is soaked; water is all over the floors, and there is a bulge in the bedroom wall. I work for charity Breaking Down Borders, which helps people with mental, physical and emotional challenges, and I was planning to spend the day doing work for that, but with no wifi or electricity I couldn’t do anything”.
Voluntary project, Ty Forest Hub, visited the property at lunchtime to provide free food for those who had been forced from their homes.
Mid and West Wales Fire and Rescue service sent crews from Swansea Central and Swansea West to the incident.
A spokesman for the service said: “On arrival, crews found no sign of a fire, however, a sprinkler system had caused internal flooding within an area of the building. Firefighters isolated the electrics and sprinkler system and left the incident with the local authority at 10.40am. The cause of the fire alarm sounding is being investigated by the local authority”.
A Swansea Council spokesman added: “Throughout the day our officers have been on-site at a block of flats in Matthew Street assisting residents following an incident in which the sprinkler system was set off. No-one was hurt and all those residents affected have been offered alternative temporary accommodation if they do not have friends or family they can stay with until they are able to return to their homes. We are also offering transport and other support to all those affected.
“Initial inquiries suggest the sprinkler system was damaged in a deliberate act causing water damage to electrical systems which have had to be switched off. We are continuing to assess the situation and will be keeping residents informed.”