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Barking fire: First families return to block of flats

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 June 2019

Samuel Garside House in De Pass Gardens at Barking Riverside was extensively damaged in the blaze. Picture: Andrew Brookes.

Samuel Garside House in De Pass Gardens at Barking Riverside was extensively damaged in the blaze. Picture: Andrew Brookes.

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Families have started returning to the block of flats where 20 homes were destroyed in a blaze.

Barking and Dagenham Council confirmed five households returned to Samuel Garside House yesterday (Tuesday), with a further five expected to return today (Wednesday).

In all, 40 flats - half the number in the building - have been deemed as safe to return to.

The fire, which broke out at the De Pass Gardens, Barking Riverside building on Sunday afternoon, saw residents forced to flee their homes and take refuge in the rest centre set up at Thames View Community Centre.

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The council has said that anyone who doesn't want to return home yet is able to stay in the temporary accommodation it has booked until Monday.

Council leader Cllr Darren Rodwell said that the council "will be making sure all of the agencies involved fulfil their duty to make sure every resident has accommodation - whether they want to return to the block or not".

He added: "The insurance companies have been doing their bit, as have our local NHS colleagues, who have been on site giving people support if they need it.

"Once again our community has pulled together and I've been overwhelmed by the enormous generosity and sympathy people are showing by taking time out of their busy lives to donate what they can to people who have lost everything.

"This is going to be one of the lowest times in some of our residents' lives - having a whole community rooting for them is what makes this borough the place it is."

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