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Flat fire leaves neighbours counting cost – and forced to move out because block ‘smells like a barbecue’

PUBLISHED: 17:47 31 May 2018 | UPDATED: 17:47 31 May 2018

The flat that caught fire in Aberdeen Park. Picture: Tom Ladle

The flat that caught fire in Aberdeen Park. Picture: Tom Ladle

Archant

A fire that filled a Highbury tower block with acrid smoke has forced occupants to find alternative accommodation.

Soot on the stairwell on Thursday morning. Picture: Tom LadleSoot on the stairwell on Thursday morning. Picture: Tom Ladle

Tuesday’s fire at 5am, in Aberdeen Park, was a result of unattended candles in a bedroom, the fire brigade said.

It left the hallways covered in soot, with some of it entering the flats in the building where the fire started.

There was also a large amount of debris outside the building when the Gazette visited this morning, although the council says it has since been cleared. The conditions have resulted in people temporarily leaving their homes, including a couple living on the floor above the blaze.

Speaking to the Gazette as they were moving out, the woman’s husband said he had contacted the council numerous times asking them clean up the building and remove the debris.

The debris outside the block on Thursday morning. Picture: Tom LadleThe debris outside the block on Thursday morning. Picture: Tom Ladle

“The council haven’t cleared up anything,” he said. “There is still debris outside of the flat left on the floor and the hallway is a health concern.

“I walked through it this morning and my nose is burning and a lot of the residents are a lot older than I am.”

He said the only communication he had received from the council was a letter to say the building insurance they have for the flats will not cover contents.

“It was a pretty traumatic experience for everyone in the block and you want to move on but you can’t because your block smells like a barbecue,” he said.

The first floor and the second floor are the worst affected by the fire as when it occurred the smoke rose upwards and the lack of ventilation in the hallway has only made conditions worse.

“Our emergency response team were on site immediately after the fire and arranged for repairs and electricians to secure the property,” a spokesman said.

“The building was then surveyed to assess the damage and to arrange further repairs. The debris on site has been cleared this afternoon.

“A specialist clean is required for the smoke damage in the communal areas and will be completed by a contractor as soon as possible.

“Residents will be contacted shortly to confirm the time of the clean.”

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