'We did not foresee': Tenants evacuated as burst pipe floods Rainham block

Merlin Court flood

Cllr Michael Deon Burton, ward councillor for South Hornchurch, was quick to attend the flood and help residents on Friday, April 22 - Credit: John Summers

A housing association has apologised after a burst water pipe flooded a Rainham block of flats and forced residents to be evacuated.  

Clarion Housing said it has seen footage of the flooding at its Merlin Court on the Orchard Village estate on April 22 and understands the "distress this will have caused the local residents”.  

A spokesperson said: “We are sorry this happened and are committed to rectifying the issue and ensuring the homes are safe and comfortable to return to.” 

The pipe

The pipe that burst - Credit: Cllr Deon Burton

Cllr Michael Deon Burton (South Hornchurch, Con) attended the scene after he received a “damning phone call” from residents.  

He described how the “full water rupture” had caused “panic”, with residents fearing for their safety as electricity units and lights filled with water. 

Clarion’s spokesperson said: “Our team was in the building and working to fix a smaller leak that was first reported to us on April 7.   

“We did not foresee the pipe would burst in the way that it did, but acted swiftly to move residents out when this became an emergency.” 


According to residents, the water poured down for around 20 minutes - Credit: John Summers

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Samantha Lammin, 35, and John Summers, 38 - who live with their three children and dog in Merlin Court - were evacuated to the Travelodge in Lakeside, but said their allocated room “isn’t suitable”.

Samantha and John

Samantha Lammin and John Summers - Credit: John Summers

Clarion said when its residents are moved out in an emergency, both accommodation and an allowance of £15 per adult and £10 per child is provided each day.  

Self-employed plumber John said this allowance “isn’t big enough” to feed the whole family, calling the situation “atrocious”. 

John raised that the initial booking wasn't suitable and the hotel gave the family a second room, but he wants to be housed somewhere the family can stay together.

Clarion said it is now working to ensure people are “comfortable in their temporary accommodation and can move back to their homes as soon as possible”.   

It comes after the block was left without heating and running water after a leak in 2020.  

Around seven properties are thought to be affected by that incident, including Samantha and John's.