Family home is flooded again – by the same water main

Photos and valuables are lost in overnight deluge, less than three years after basement flat was devastated

Friday, 5th February 2021 — By Calum Fraser

Offord Road 02-Alfie Sajir flood

Emergency repairs are carried out in Offord Road after the overnight flooding

A FAMILY home has been devastated by flooding for the second time in less than three years after the same water main burst again.

Alfie Sajir told how he looked on in despair as his mother, Tracy Davies, struggled to “hold back the tears” outside their Barnsbury home in the early hours of the morning last Wednesday as filthy, cold water pumped out of the main into their basement flat home.

Ms Davies had only just started getting her Offord Road house back in order after they were forced to move out in 2018 when the same water main burst. It has raised fresh concerns over Thames Water’s management of London’s water, drainage and sewage network.

“This is the second time from the same water main, I can’t believe it,” Mr Sajir, 24, told the Tribune.

“We were only just about getting the house back in order from the last flood because they didn’t compensate us that time. We lost a lot in that flood as well.”

Alfie Sajir

He added: “We are not a rich family and some items can’t be replaced. It’s a lot for me to take in, watching my mum holding back the tears, it’s a lot.

“She tried to figure a way to divert the water away from our home. It was quite devastating, to be honest. My mum lost photos and valuables – some old books that were passed down in the family.”

Homes and businesses across the borough have been deluged time and again by burst mains. The Tribune championed residents battling for compensation after floods in Angel in 2016 and Finsbury Park in 2019 – the latter is believed to be the biggest cracked pipe in Thames Water’s history.

Jo Willet, who has helped lead the campaign for fair compensation after her home was one of more than 100 buildings flooded in Angel four years ago, said: “I think pressure needs to be put at a high level. Quite a lot of Islington has been flooded several times.

Firefighters tackle the flooding in Offord Road

“It seems they would rather take the risk and compensate people instead of investing the amounts that are needed in maintaining the network.

“It’s shocking, really. It’s a huge thing for people to go through.”

In 2018, utilities watchdog Ofwat found that Thames Water breached two of its legal obligations for leakage management – this led to a record £120million fine. It is understood that around eight homes were affected in Wednesday’s flood.

Mr Sajir, his two sisters and his mother have been moved to a hotel in Angel until alternative accommodation can be found.

They will now have to undertake the painstaking task of listing all lost or damaged items with costs and submit a claim to Thames Water’s loss adjustors and insurance team.

A Thames Water spokeswoman said: “We’re truly sorry for the devastation the flooding has caused and are supporting affected families so their lives can get back to normal as soon as possible.

“We’ve assigned a dedicated case manager to Alfie’s family who will make sure they’re looked after and are properly compensated for the damage to their property and possessions – our pipe caused the problem so it’s our responsibility to put things right.”

It is understood that Mr Sajir’s family received some compensation for damage to their home in 2018 and a “small payout for loss of possessions”, but a larger claim is yet to be made.

The Thames spokeswoman added: “Islington has one of the highest rates of mains replacement of any borough we serve and has had over a third of its pipes replaced in the last 20 years. We’re currently investing £7million replacing a large pipe under Seven Sisters Road, and we will keep investing in our network to ensure we continue to provide an essential service to our customers into the future.”

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