Dad still fighting for compensation after Wolvey boiler explosion

Graham Coupland outside his home in Wolvey where the explosion happened. Photo: Slater & Gordon NNL-170725-165702001
Graham Coupland outside his home in Wolvey where the explosion happened. Photo: Slater & Gordon NNL-170725-165702001

A retired father from Wolvey is still fighting for compensation after his coal fire exploded just feet from where he sat on Christmas Day three years ago.

Graham Coupland says he still has nightmares about the blast in his then-council house which put his daughter in hospital for weeks and left him covered in hot coal and psychologically scarred.

The fireplace after the boiler behind it exploded. Photo: Slater & Gordon NNL-170725-165722001

The fireplace after the boiler behind it exploded. Photo: Slater & Gordon NNL-170725-165722001

Yet three years on, nobody has taken the blame with the council and the contractor arguing over liability.

“Rugby Borough Council blames the contractors – Renewable Micro Solutions – and they blame the council so nobody will accept liability for the accident,” he said.

“All I want to happen is to be reimbursed for my losses.

“The council redecorated my house and fitted new carpets but most of my belongings were destroyed – my TV, suite, quilt, other furniture.

“I had to scrounge furniture and borrow off my children. My main question is why has it taken over three years to sort it out?”

The explosion is believed to have been caused by a back boiler that was not decommissioned when electric central heating was installed.

Mr Coupland said he switched it on on Christmas Day and the bang ‘almost blew his daughter’s foot off’.

Such was the ferocity of the explosion, his double glazed windows were shattered and every room in his house was covered in soot.

Graham suffered cuts, burns and bruises in the explosion and still has flashbacks but his daughter was admitted to hospital for several weeks after breaking her ankle and foot. She also needed plastic surgery.

The pair were also affected psychologically too with his daughter too nervous to enter the house and Graham unable to get a good night’s sleep.

Nigel Smith, a personal injury specialist at law firm Slater and Gordon, who is representing Mr Coupland in his legal case, said he is determined to find out who is to blame.

“The least a council house tenant can expect from their landlord is that the appliances they install are safe and that proper checks are made,” he said.

“It is difficult to imagine how upsetting this has been for Graham. Three years on he continues to suffer with flashbacks and disturbed sleep and his daughter is still unable to walk properly yet the case still hasn’t been settled.

“We are determined to help Mr Coupland get to the bottom of what has happened and find out who is to blame for this potentially life-threatening accident.”

A council spokesman said he hoped the case was resolved soon and that a lot of organisations were involved in the central heating installation.

Renewable Micro Solutions did not provide a comment.