Residents of Pembroke Road in Ruislip were left living off microwave meals and using friends' showers to keep themselves clean for seven days after a delivery lorry crashed into a gas pipe.
Sarah Townsend woke up early on the morning of Friday, August 31 to a "huge bang" and the pungent smell of gas leaking onto the residential street which is also home to a restaurant and pub.
The 60-year-old is a full-time carer for husband Brian, 68, who suffers from heart failure and rheumatoid arthritis, and has previously suffered from septicemia. He has already endured two hospital visits in the last seven months.
While going without hot water and gas would be an inconvenience to anyone, not being able to wash properly and cook meals for a week was particularly straining for the couple who have lived in the street for 36 years.
But they weren't the only ones who were affected.
Danielle Ramsay, 27, and her children, seven-year-old Ollie and five-year-old Millie, had to rely on friends to take a hot shower.
Mrs Townsend claims she made several calls to British Gas ' subcontracting companies - Cadent and tRIIO.
However, the problem wasn't fixed until last Friday - and only after getwestlondon contacted the companies for a statement.
A British Gas spokesman said on Friday (September 7) it was not responsible for fixing the problem, but confirmed that gas had been restored.
"At 8.30am last Friday (August 31) a lorry smashed into the wall and broke the gas pipe, it was making a delivery at the pub along the road," Mrs Townsend explained to getwestlondon last week.
"I was in bed and we heard a huge bang, it was like an explosion, I ran downstairs just with my pyjamas on.
"The gas was coming out, it smelt really bad and the driver of the lorry tried to hold it with a cloth.
"It has happened before when the gas pipe has been dented a bit, but this time it was completely broken - there was about a three-foot gap."
What followed was seven days of repeated calls to the gas companies, numerous reference numbers and various visits by engineers, all of which failed to fix the escalating problem, Mrs Townsend claimed.
'No one is helping us'
"We have been boiling kettles, getting takeaways and microwave meals - I'm the carer of my husband," she told getwestlondon before the problem was fixed.
"We are three flats above a restaurant but they still have gas because they use a different pipe.
"Next door have two young children and they're having to go to their friends' for showers.
"We have carers who come in to look after Brian, they're finding it difficult - he has to be cleaned and massaged with cream, it's all a big inconvenience.
"This is the 21st century, we want to have hot water. I usually love making crumbles and I had some apples but I can't make anything which can't be microwaved. It has been such an inconvenience.
"It's not fair that we had to suffer when it isn't our fault, no one seems to be helping us.
"We have been here for 36 years and this has been the worst case. Brian just wants a hot shower, why are we being ignored?
"Brian wants to know why we aren't being looked after.
"We think we should be compensated for the phone calls and cold food we are having to eat."
Children forced to shower at friends'
The couple weren't the only ones unable to have a hot shower and warm meal for a whole week.
Danielle Ramsay, 27, and her children, Ollie, 7, and Millie, 5, were left eating takeaways and visiting their friends to wash.
"We haven't had access to hot water or gas for almost a week, I've had to take Ollie and Millie to their friends'," she said, speaking before the broken pipe was repaired.
"It's been really inconvenient. We have been eating takeaways and cold food which is costing a lot and, although the kids don't mind, it isn't ideal and it isn't healthy - I always prefer to cook.
"It's a good job it's not winter."
What the gas companies have to say
Last Thursday (September 6) getwestlondon approached British Gas, Cadent and tRIIO for a statement.
Later that day the gas pipe was reportedly fixed and the following day (Friday, September 7) hot water and gas were restored to the three affected flats.
A British Gas spokesman said: "This is not a British Gas issue, therefore I am providing this information for background only.
"A damaged gas pipe is a gas emergency and therefore Cadent are required to carry out the work.
"Our team have contacted them on Mrs Townsend’s behalf, after which they attended the property and have now restored supply.
"Unfortunately, our own records do not indicate that we received any calls from Mrs Townsend. For these reasons we would not provide any compensation.
"However, as she has been a longstanding customer of ours and clearly this has been an extremely difficult time for her, particularly due to her circumstances, we have offered a gesture of goodwill."