Page last updated at 17:11 GMT, Saturday, 13 December 2008

MP criticised for 999 boiler call

Lynne Featherstone
Miss Featherstone said she would do the same again if necessary

A London MP has been called "dizzy" for dialling 999 after hearing strange noises from her boiler.

Hornsey and Wood Green Liberal Democrat MP Lynne Featherstone called fire crews as a motor jammed on her boiler causing it to spark, shake and make noises.

But Brian Coleman, Conservative chairman of London's fire authority, said she wasted fire service time and should have called a plumber.

Miss Featherstone said she feared the boiler was going to explode.

The boiler in the basement of her home in Highgate, north London, developed a fault at around 2200 GMT in the incident last month.

"The floor was shaking and the noise was so loud it was filling the street," Miss Featherstone told BBC London 94.9.

'Really frightened'

She left the house with her two daughters and called emergency services.

"We were really frightened," she said.

"You don't run out into the street in the freezing cold for frivolous reasons."

The fire brigade is very concerned about unnecessary calls and this is clearly an unnecessary call
Brian Coleman, fire authority chairman

Firefighters fixed the problem and Miss Featherstone recorded the incident in her online blog.

But Mr Coleman criticised her saying there could have been a serious incident elsewhere and it was a waste of time and money.

He described her actions as "dizzy behaviour".

"The fire brigade is very concerned about unnecessary calls and this is clearly an unnecessary call," he said.

"This is not a 999 emergency. If your boiler is making a noise you switch it off.

"I think MPs should be setting a better example."

Miss Featherstone responded by saying she would do the same again if necessary.

"The message that the fire brigade have always instilled into people is if you think you are in danger, get out of the house and phone the fire brigade," she said.

A London Fire Brigade spokeswoman said: "If it's obvious that there has been an ongoing problem with the boiler, then you can call a plumber.

"But if your boiler suddenly starts making strange noises in the middle of the night, call the fire brigade."

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