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Race against time to save tropical fish after power outage 'impasse' in Stoke Newington block of flats

PUBLISHED: 14:02 15 March 2019 | UPDATED: 14:06 15 March 2019

It's a race against time to save Mark Clancy's tropical fish, which are getting too cold and might die after power was wiped out over 24 hours ago

It's a race against time to save Mark Clancy's tropical fish, which are getting too cold and might die after power was wiped out over 24 hours ago

mark clancy

It's a race against time to save a tank of tropical fish in a block of flats where the electricity and heating has been off since Wednesday morning.

Mark Clancy's fish before the power cutMark Clancy's fish before the power cut

It took a 24-hour “impasse” while Newlon Housing Trust passed the buck to UK Power Networks for the outage at Gaskin House off Stoke Newington Church Street, which in turn said the problem was Newlon’s responsibility.

A further 24 hours down the line, after Newlon engineers spent some of the day yesterday hunting for the keys to the main power supply cupboard and then went home for the night, the problem is still not fixed.

Leaseholder and fish owner Mark Chafty, 56, isn’t sure his pets will still be alive it the problem goes on unresolved for another 24 hours.

“They look like they are on their last legs now because the heating for them has gone,” a frustrated Mark told the Gazette.

Gaskin House off Stoke Newington Church StreetGaskin House off Stoke Newington Church Street

“It’s getting beyond a joke. I am attached to the fish. It’s not a cost thing but I’ve had them for a long time.”

This morning Mark spoke to the Gazette from an aquatics shop in Kent where he was enquiring what to do during an electricity outage.

“It’s a fragile ecosystem and there is this bacteria that breaks down the waste products. When there is no electricity supply the oxygen levels drop and the fish get poisoned from the pollutants because there is no filtration. Essentially there is nothing I can do.”

In the meantime nine other households also have no hot water, power or heating.

Newlon engineers can't find the key to the main fuse box at Gaskin House off Stoke Newington Church StreetNewlon engineers can't find the key to the main fuse box at Gaskin House off Stoke Newington Church Street

“My understanding of emergency situations is you have the electricians out at all hours, but there is no one here,” said Mark. “They don’t seem to be taking it seriously. You’d think they’d be working through the night. We don’t know where we are or what’s happening, or whether they found the key.”

A spokesperson for Newlon told the Gazette the problem has been caused by the failure of a heavy-duty under-floor power cable.

“It was not initially clear whether this was in an area that we or UK Power would need to repair,” they said.

“This can cause delays because we are not able to work on any part of UK Power’s infrastructure. We have established that we are responsible for resolving the issue and we have specialist contractors onsite so we can restore power as soon as possible. We are in contact with residents to update them and provide alternative accommodation as required. We will also be offering compensation once the works have been completed.

“We understand that works should be completed today, but as it is quite a complex job, I want to be cautious about confirming anything until after I’ve had the next update.”

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