An elderly resident in sheltered housing said she is terrified for her life because a lift at the three-storey block has been 'intermittently' out of action for months.

She said residents live in fear of a fire at Trellis House in Mill Road, Colliers Wood because they are elderly and not very mobile, and are scared they would not be able to get out if disaster struck.

A spokesperson for Sanctuary Supported Living, that runs the home, admitted the lift had been working 'intermittently over the past couple of weeks,' but it had been repaired on Thursday.

The elderly woman who contacted the Wimbledon Guardian said the flats are home to very old and very ill people, some of whom are in wheelchairs or bed-bound.

She said they were scared about what would happen in a fire at the home and felt their fears were being ignored.

The woman, who did not want to give her name, said the lift had been out of action for a while, and even if it had been fixed it quickly broke down again.

There is only one lift and two sets of stairs at the property, which has 42 privately rented flats.

She said: "I am very frightened.

"If there's a fire what do we do?

"I don't know what to do.

"We wouldn't be able to get out if there was a fire – we would be killed."

The website of Trellis House said it is staffed 24 hours a day with residents of the 42 flats linked up to an on-call system.

Merton’s cabinet member for adult social care and health, Councillor Caroline Cooper-Marbiah said: "The building is run by Sanctuary, but the council has talked to them about how this happened and made clear its concerns about the impact on residents.

"I’m glad Sanctuary have been able to fix the lift and we will be working closely with them to ensure they do not allow this to happen again."

A spokesperson from Sanctuary said: "The lift at Trellis House has been working intermittently over the past couple of weeks but was repaired on Thursday, July 24, and we are sorry for any disruption caused."

The home is described as having communal lounges on each floor, which have either a TV or music centre, as well as a library which has a wide range of books, tapes, games, DVDs and a computer.