RETIREMENT park residents have condemned the “gross inefficiency” of BT for failing to repair damaged phone lines that have left them cut off for over two weeks.

At least 20 out of 44 homes in Sunnyside Park, Ringwood have been without landlines and, for some, broadband after a devastating fire at a neighbouring home destroyed overhead cables on Wednesday, August 19.

Despite multiple mobile phone calls from one resident and two visits from engineers, the line is yet to be repaired, leaving residents without mobiles unable to communicate with the outside world.

One woman in her 80s was reportedly stranded on her floor for two hours after a fall because her personal alarm was disconnected. After eventually crawling to her front door, she was able to call for help.

Resident Peter Jackson described his disbelief at the situation. “The amount of difficulty BT has put us through is unbelievable. I’ve received three texts from them saying the fault has been repaired when it hasn’t, and the latest one said it might even be in my house, in which case I’d have to front the repair costs.

“Another excuse they’ve given me is there’s a criminal investigation going on due to the fire, so they need permission from the local authority to start repairs. This is nonsense. The police were never involved because the fire was accidental.”

He continued: “I’m ok as I’ve got a mobile but there are people here who rely on their landlines for contacting family, arranging GP appointments and ordering groceries.We’re all trying to look after one another at the moment but this is all so unnecessary and could be resolved with a little bit of management.”

A spokesman for BT said: “We are sorry for any problems experienced by customers affected by a [park home] fire which caused severe damage to our overhead cabling. A considerable amount of repair work is needed but, according to our records, we provided a working line for this customer on August 21 pending permanent repair work being carried out.

“If the customer is still experiencing problems, he should report this to his service provider. We have to carry out testing on some poles located near the fire in order to ensure that our engineers can work on them safely, and we will restore service as soon as possible.”