RESIDENTS were evacuated and some were temporarily re-housed after a sprinkler system damaged several flats.

North Wales Fire and Rescue Service was alerted to a sprinkler system activation at Castle Heights in Flint on Wednesday night.

Three crews and an aerial ladder were sent to the scene to find the system had been set off accidentally by a resident who had been decorating.

The Leader:

John and Diane Lloyd inside their damaged flat in Flint

The resident - 67-year-old John Lloyd - told the Leader he had been using a steamer on the opposite wall to a sprinkler in his hallway when it unexpectedly went off at about 8.30pm.

He told the Leader that the pressure of the water knocked him to the ground.

Mr Lloyd said: "I was nowhere near the sprinkler with the steamer, but it went off and the water hit me on the back of the head - it knocked me down the hallway.

The Leader:

The sprinker inside the flat

"I was just panicking because I couldn't see a thing and I was thinking about the people below.

"I phoned the fire brigade and it felt like hours but they were here within ten minutes - I can't praise them enough.

"The council was here very quickly and they found us somewhere to stay. They have really supported us."

The Leader:

Mr Lloyd's wife Diane, a nurse at Wrexham Maelor's special care baby unit, was in work when the incident happened and said she was distraught at the damage.

She said: "There must have been thousands of gallons of water and it has devastated everything - the hallway, the kitchen, the lounge, the bedroom.

"But we have insurance so we will be able to repair all of this."

Mr Lloyd added the water pouring from the sprinkler also affected a number of flats below his.

The Leader:

He added: "We're very grateful it wasn't actually a fire and we're joyful that the system works, but not that we were the ones to test it.

"We're just so sorry for the people below us. Some of them have gone to stay with family and others have gone into temporary accommodation."

Firefighters were called out to the flats two more times - once at 2.16am yesterday following another activation of the system during repairs and then just after 7.20pm when the system activated once again, this time due to a fault following the earlier incident.

The Leader:

Castle Heights in Flint

Flintshire Council, which provides social housing accommodation in the tower block, said tenants were temporarily relocated to Castle Heights Community Centre after the power supply was shut off and three people had to be rehoused overnight.

It said its housing officers were attending the building this morning to assess the damage and provide reassurance.

Neal Cockerton, chief officer for housing and assets said: “Yesterday evening, the sprinkler system to a flat in Castle Heights was accidently damaged causing it to activate.

“The activation caused localised water damage to a number of flats requiring power supplies to be isolated for safety reasons and the temporary relocation of tenants into the Castle Heights Community Centre. Three people had to be rehoused overnight.

“Throughout the evening power was restored to the affected flats and further assurance tests were undertaken this morning.”

In November 2016 more than 30 flats at the neighbouring Bolingbroke Heights were flooded after a planned exercise by the fire service went wrong and sent thousands of gallons of water cascading through the 17-storey building.

Cllr Bernie Attridge, deputy leader and cabinet member for housing said:

“Unfortunately the sprinkler activation caused localised water damage to a number of flats, which will be assessed more fully this morning.

“I would like to thank those affected for their patience and forbearance during the evening as well as the fire service and housing staff for working through the night to restore power, provide support and assurance and assist people return to their accommodation.”

Along with Richard Heights, the three towers were originally built in the 1960s and 1970s.