Social housing tenants in Forest Hill have said they feel unsafe in their homes after an electrical issue plunged them into darkness.

Residents on The Knapdale Estate told News Shopper their block was evacuated on August 10 when the power was turned off after an electrician noticed a leak dripping onto a "burnt out" electrical box.

“It was absolutely pitch black. There was no emergency lighting,” Donna Barker, 37, said, describing how tenants had to walk down several flights of stairs at 9.30pm.

Ms Barker, who has lived in the block for 10 years, added residents complained about the lack of emergency lighting last year but were “ignored” by Lewisham Homes. They also expressed concerns that there are no smoke alarms in the corridors.

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Ken Stevenson, 75, has lived on the Knapdale Estate for 52 years. When the lights went out, he also had to walk down several flights of stairs in the dark.

“I woke up and the light was off. I was running backwards and forwards in the dark,” he told News Shopper.

Over the four days tenants were without power, they were offered emergency accommodation by Lewisham Council, but they were unimpressed by what was on offer.

Cynthia Alle, 38, who has lived on the Knapdale Estate for 10 years with her husband Simpa and two children, claims a worker at a Rushey Green hostel told her: “I wouldn’t advise you use the pillows.”

“The toilet hadn’t been cleaned for I don’t know how long. I said, ‘No, I’m not staying in here with my children’,” Mrs Alle told News Shopper.

And since returning with their children, Mr and Mrs Alle are starting to worry about living in the block.

“I don’t feel safe here,” Mrs Alle told News Shopper.

News Shopper:

Residents described the electrical box as "burnt out"

In addition to safety concerns, tenants are demanding compensation from Lewisham Council for their rent and inconvenience.

Mr Stevenson has gathered an entire sack of food that was ruined in the fridge when the power was out.

“I did my weekly shop on the Friday. All my stuff that I put in the fridge is now spoilt.

“I need to claim my money back for my shopping but Lewisham Council told me I need to have insurance to claim,” he told News Shopper.

His neighbours agreed they found it hard to get answers from the Council about claiming back money.

A Lewisham Homes spokeswoman said: “The safety of our residents is our top priority. We carry out regular independent fire risk assessments of all our blocks, including Knapdale Close which was last assessed in April 2019.

“We are complying with the law and have taken advice from fire safety experts who have deemed the means of escape in the block as satisfactory with no requirement for emergency lighting or smoke alarms in the communal areas.

“Since the incident on 10 August we have undertaken electrical repairs which have been signed off by UK Power Networks.

“Residents were sent text messages on a daily basis to keep them updated on progress and our staff were present on the estate to answer any questions whilst the repairs were carried out.

“We accept our communication once the power went back on could have been better and we are now in correspondence with residents about how they can claim compensation.

“Our emergency accommodation is checked and cleaned regularly but we are following up on the feedback from residents.”