Hendon residents whose homes were rendered uninhabitable by a fire in May have been able to return home two weeks ahead of schedule.
On May 9 all of the 44 households living in Barnet Homes’ Upper Fosters in Brent Street had to be evacuated following a fire in an electrical cupboard which damaged electric wiring.
Barnet Homes, which manages the properties on behalf of Barnet Council, were initially criticised for failing to provide adequate temporary accommodation for residents but eventually offered alternative housing to all of the affected individuals and families.
It has taken eight weeks to rewire the building during which time Barnet Homes claims they have also improved the lighting and heating systems in the block.
Barnet Homes Chief Executive, Tracey Lees, visited some of those residents affected on Wednesday.
She said: “This was an unusual incident which caused huge disruption to many residents.
“It was good to meet some of them on my visit to Upper Fosters, and I would like to thank them for their patience and understanding during a very difficult period for them and their families.
“Our staff have been working extremely hard, through nights and weekends in some cases, to support the residents and enable them to move back into their homes.
“I’m pleased that we have succeeded in completing the work ahead of the original timescale and I hope life now gets back to normal for all of the residents at the block.”
Sian Stafford, one of the tenants at Upper Fosters, said: “Obviously we were in shock when this happened. But the staff were very helpful and I can’t complain about anything. I’m also really pleased with the new heating that’s been put in.
“I was lucky to get a property close by while the work was done, but I’ve got a lovely flat and lovely neighbours, so I’m really happy to be back home.”
However, not all residents are so positive.
When she was evacuated Ruby said: “I wouldn’t wish living there upon my worst enemy. We are frightened to go back there. Next time the fire could be in the night.”