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Pensioner 'may freeze to death' as she heats squalid house with single-bar fire

There are fears that a Merseyside pensioner living in squalid conditions
Shocking images show how a pensioner is living with only one tiny electric heater to heat her entire home after her gas supply was isolated. (Reach)

Shocking images of a pensioner living in squalid conditions with only a small electric heater to warm her entire home have been shared as the cost-of-living crisis continues to hit the most vulnerable.

The woman, referred to as Irene, has been left without central heating or hot water after her gas supply was isolated, leaving her relying on the heater and only able to eat toast because she has no other means to cook food.

One of the worrying images show the small electric heater in her dilapidated home in Huyton, Merseyside, while another shows her damaged back door, which doesn't close properly, and there is also a large hole in one of her walls.

Another showed the pensioner, who relies on oxygen cylinders, making the conditions she is living in extremely dangerous, surviving on a piece of toast.

Irene's dilapidated home has prompted fears she won't survive the winter. (Reach)
Irene's dilapidated home has prompted fears she won't survive the winter. (Reach)
Images show holes in the wall and a broken back door. (Reach)
Images show holes in the wall and a broken back door. (Reach)

Read more: 'It will probably kill me': Shocking impact of rising prices on the elderly laid bare

The pictures were shared online by James Anderson who runs the Depher Community Interest Company - a plumbing and heating repair company that works to help people who are living in squalid conditions and cannot afford to maintain properties.

The Lancashire-based plumber said he had been alerted to the situation by Irene's neighbour who was worried about the state she was living in.

Sharing her plight on Twitter as he called for help from local Merseyside businesses and tradespeople to help make her home fit for human habitation, he wrote: "This is where Irene lives. She is an elderly lady who needs urgent help, without it her neighbour said "she may not survive another winter."

Picturing the electric heater, he added: "This is her only form of heating. Her gas has been isolated, leaving her without any form of warmth or hot water. Irene needs the help of the community and experts."

With an image of Irene sat next to a piece of toast, he added: "Jam on toast is nice, but not as a set meal."

James Anderson put a shout-out on Twitter asking for help for Irene. (Twitter/Depher cic uk)
James Anderson put a shout-out on Twitter asking for help for Irene. (Twitter/Depher cic uk)

Speaking to the Liverpool ECHO, Anderson said: "It was Irene's neighbour that first alerted us to the situation as she was very worried. We went to the house and it was pretty terrible - it was freezing too as she has no heating.

"Irene has had to get used to this, but she shouldn't have to - she nearly cried when we told her we were going to help her out."

Anderson set up Depher after his young son died several years ago and said in recent times he has seen people living in increasingly grim conditions as they can no longer afford to repair and maintain their homes.

Anderson helps people across the country by organising fundraisers. (Twitter/Depher cic uk)
Anderson helps people across the country by organising fundraisers. (Twitter/Depher cic uk)

He is hoping that through donations and offers of help from local companies, work can begin to make Irene's home safe to live in.

He added: "We need quite a lot of help. We need a door fitter, a kitchen fitter, a carpet fitter, plumbers, gas engineers and someone to provide a skip and help clear out the property. We also welcome any donations from people that will help with the project."

A GoFundMe page to help improve Irene's home has been set up and any businesses or tradespeople that can offer services are asked to contact James on 07521702043 or at info@depher.co.uk.