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Disabled man's anger at refusal to install second exit in home

A disabled man fears his housing provider is not making necessary adjustments to make his home safe in the event of a fire.

Following a car accident Graham Inwood suffers from chronic pain syndrome and spends the vast majority of his time in a wheelchair.

Almost completely deaf, Graham only manages independently in his home with the support of carers and his hearing dog, Jasper.

The 53-year-old’s concern stems from the fact that his bungalow, in Choseley Road, only has one exit to the outside – the front door.

According to Graham, occupational therapy workers agreed that a second exit should be installed in the living room and that the price of the works was approved for his disability grant.

As well as spending most of his time in the living room, Graham’s fridge and freezer is also situated there.

These items cannot currently be housed in the kitchen as work to adapt the space have not been carried out and he fears they present a fire risk.

His housing association, Housing Solutions, and the fire service carried out a Personal Evacuation and Escape Plan (PEEP) and received independent advice from a fire specialist.

As a result, a letter sent to Graham stated that a second exit door is ‘not required’ given that he often has a carer at home as well as Jasper.

Housing Solutions deemed that the only provision required was ‘additional linked heat/smoke detectors’.

In response Graham said: “My dog can let me know if the fire alarm is going off but that doesn’t stop me frying to death.”

In protest, Graham went to the Housing Solutions offices, in Wal- deck Road, on Monday, May 14, wearing his nightwear to demand he is given a copy of the PEEP.

A spokeswoman for Housing Solutions said: “We are working with Mr Inwood and the Berkshire Fire Service to do what we can to ensure Mr Inwood’s safety in his home.”

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