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'Lucky to be alive' Pregnant mum could be homeless for Christmas after faulty shower nearly burnt house down

Brogan who is seven months pregnant, has been left sleeping on a friend’s sofa with her child

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Distress: Bronagh is seven months pregnant and now her home has been ruined

Distress: Bronagh is seven months pregnant and now her home has been ruined

Bronagh Devlin in her bathroom after the fire

Bronagh Devlin in her bathroom after the fire

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Distress: Bronagh is seven months pregnant and now her home has been ruined

Thousands of electric showers in Housing Executive (HE) homes across Northern Ireland are to be examined for a potentially deadly defect.

The Triton Safeguard+ models have been fitted in as many as 5,000 bathrooms, with the HE scrambling to assess the situation after a pregnant mother’s house almost burned to the ground last weekend.

While alleged incidents of the shower model bursting into flames in homes across the UK have been documented on social media, it is understood less than 1% of the shower units contain the defective part.

North Belfast mum Brogan Devlin told yesterday how she and her daughter are “lucky to be alive” after her shower unit burst into flames in her HE home.

The 25-year-old says her shower, one of the Triton Safeguard+ models affected, should have been removed by the Executive after the company announced a product recall in 2018 due to fire safety concerns.

Now the mum, who is seven months pregnant, has been left sleeping on a friend’s sofa with her child, and says the HE won’t even recognise that she is homeless.

Speaking of the fire which ravaged her bathroom and caused thousands of pounds worth of smoke damage throughout the house, Brogan, who lives in the Ardoyne area of Belfast, explained: “I moved into the Housing Executive house in 2017, and the shower was already installed before I moved in. The bathroom was new, and up until Sunday I never had any issues with shower overheating or anything.

“The shower did break a couple of times, when water stopped coming out. From when I moved in three-and-a-half years ago that’s happened twice. The HE sent someone out and fixed it on both occasions and that was that.

“Last Sunday I had a shower at about 2pm before bringing my daughter, Esmee, to Fun Works play centre. When we returned home at about a quarter to five there were fire engines all over the street. I saw my bedroom window wide open and realised it was my house where the fire had been.

“The fire brigade were still putting the fire out as we got home, and the carbon monoxide alarm was ringing all over the street. I couldn’t stand up, I felt faint, and was in hysterics. I had to go to my to neighbour’s house to calm down because I’m seven months pregnant.”

When Brogan got talking to firemen at the scene, they told her that the fire had started with the electric shower.

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“While we were out the shower overheated and went on fire. The whole bathroom was ruined, and the walls, everything upstairs, our bedding, furniture and carpets sustained smoke damage and had soot all over them.

“Esmee’s room was worst. Her toys were all black and her school uniform which had been ironed and set out for the next day was ruined.”

Brogan said the fire has placed additional mental trauma on her after a she was involved in a car accident during the summer.

“I was in a bad car crash in June and on top of that I have pregnancy condition, SPD, and this has caused so much more stress and trauma and it’s the last thing I need, just weeks before Christmas.

“I now don’t know if we’re going to be homeless at Christmas because of this. I put up my Christmas decorations and had all my presents bought to take a bit of the burden off me closer to the time because I’m pregnant and everything had been destroyed.

“I’d even bought clothes for my unborn baby which were sealed in a wardrobe and they now stink of smoke. How can anyone expect me to feel safe in that house?

“I still have a tenancy agreement, so the HE still expect me to live there, but I’ve been left without heating, running water and I have no gas to cook on. I’ve been offered temporary accommodation by the HE but at the end of the day I feel all of this is their fault as they should have removed the shower back in 2018 when the safety recall was announced.”

A tearful Brogan added: “My life is just upside down, (my) child keeps asking me where all her toys are, and her Christmas tree.

“I’m trying to be strong for her. Everything I’ve worked hard for or bought is down the drain. If this had happened while we were asleep, my unborn child, my daughter and myself might not be here right now.”

In regards to the shower recall, a message on the Triton website released in 2018 reads: ‘It has come to our attention that under very rare circumstances and in a very small number of cases, a part of the electronic circuit board of the Safeguard+ shower may develop a fault which could lead to overheating and a potential risk of electric shock or fire hazard.

‘If your shower is showing any signs of discolouration; you MUST stop using this immediately and contact us.’

A Housing Executive spokesperson said: “We took immediate action once we were made aware of the damage at this property.

“On Monday, we offered temporary accommodation to the tenant, however she opted to make her own arrangements.

“All repairs at the property will be completed by today (Friday).

They added: “Each shower has code at the underside of the unit and those affected will have a code that begins with CSGPO and the date code will also be stamped as month and year – for example, 05/14.

“Only showers dated 05/14 to 12/16 are possibly affected.

“If you have a shower unit of this exact type which is showing any signs of overheating, or which displays discolouration to the cover, please turn the unit off at the corded switch and contact us immediately.”

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