Disabled Man Feels Like a Prisoner In His Own Home Because He Can't Get a Bigger Door

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Disabled Man Feels Like a Prisoner In His Own Home Because He Can't Get a Bigger Door

 

48-year-old Darren Burns is afraid to be trapped in his own house if a fire breaks out, writes Basit Mahmood of the U.K.’s highest-circulating newspaper Metro. According to Burns, the housing association declined to make the back door to his garden bigger. Since then, the man has gone into a “deep state of anxiety and despair.” The 48-year-old is obese, weighing almost 30 stone. Burns also has lifelong hip disorder, reducing his mobility. 

He was diagnosed with arthritis when he was 13 years old. Two-and-a-half years ago, Burns’ condition deteriorated after he was involved in a car crash. The accident left him wheelchair-bound. Burns laments that he feels like a prisoner in his own home, as he cannot go to his garden. He moved into the property in March 2018 “after being made homeless.” 

Lincolnshire Housing Partnership (LHP), the owner of the property, widened the front and interior doors to cater to the man’s needs. Sadly, the backdoor remains inaccessible. Hence, Burns cannot go and sit in his garden. The LHP states that they have launched “their own formal investigation,” arriving at the conclusion that it was unnecessary “to make adjustments” to the property’s rear. The LHP informed Burns that they can only provide one exit. 

 

Image credit: Grimsby Telegraph/MEN Media via Metro


Burns described the authority’s conclusion as a lottery, as he found out that “some people get two.” “If there’s a fire at the front of the house and that is blocked, the fire service said they’d have difficulty getting me out because I’m a big guy,” he conjectures. All the man wanted “was to get settled and sorted out.”

Burns adds, “They made the house 90 per cent perfect, but what they didn’t do was a door entry system and I’m doubly incontinent so if I need to let someone in of a night I might not be in the best state." He is trying to lose weight, stating that he has lost 50 lbs since taking medication for his diabetes after being diagnosed with the condition in 2018. 

 

Image credit: Grimsby Telegraph/MEN Media via Metro

 

In Burns’ perspective, he feels discriminated against because of his weight. Perhaps he may have been prioritized if he were afflicted with another disability, Burns admits. Being unable to get fresh air worsens his depression and organizations resort to fat-shaming instead of lending a hand.

Fortunately, a spokesperson from the LHP decided to launch a formal independent investigation to address Burns’ concerns regarding fire safety. “We value all our customer feedback, and aim to support all our customers, particularly those with disabilities, to ensure that they have a home that is suitable for their needs,” the LHP states. 

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