Friday, October 03, 2003

Resident 'frustrated' by fire delay

A Nottingham man has described his frustration at being left homeless by a fire at the block of flats where he lived.

Three weeks after the fire in Radford, most of his clothes and possessions remain sealed off beyond his reach.

The flames which spread rapidly through High Cross Court left 24 homes damaged.

Most families were allowed to return home the same evening, but 16 flats were considered too unsafe to be re-occupied.

Homeless hostel

Dwayne Castillo told the BBC he has not even been able to collect his belongings

"They allowed me in once in the dark because there was no electricity, that was a couple of days before I was due to go on holiday because I needed to get my passport.

"I haven't been allowed in since.

"The fire left me with only the clothes on my back, I've had to take days off work to buy everything I need.

"I've had no feedback from the council.

"No one is saying when I can go back, every time I ring them they say no-one can tell me as it is up to the police."

Mr Castillo has been staying with his girlfriend since the fire, but other residents have had to stay at a homeless shelter.

A spokesman for Nottingham City Council, Tim Baggs, said: "We appreciate it is not ideal for the tenants that are affected for them to be staying in accommodation that is only meant for overnight stays for homeless people.

All I had was the clothes on my back

Dwayne Castillo, Tennant

"Unfortunately we don't have empty properties that we can quickly decamp people to in these situations.

"What we have been doing is identifying properties that may be suitable for the families that have been displaced."

The city council says it has found a new flat close to High Cross Court for Mr Castillo and he can hopefully move in by Monday.

Officials also added that it could be months before the flats are repaired, but that they are doing everything the can to find the tenants new homes.