Gas blast residents moving back in
A block of maisonettes in Ashford has been rebuilt, more than two years after they were destroyed in a gas explosion.
Eight council-owned homes were destroyed after the explosion and fire spread through the properties in Oak Tree Road, South Ashford, on June 15, 2015.
No one was seriously injured in the fire. However, one resident was treated in hospital for burns and 10 people were made homeless.
The emergency services and local authorities had to ensure people in the area were safe and had shelter, as well as making sure the building was secure. Work was also done to recover and store as many of the residents’ possessions as possible.
Now, the maisonettes are once again habitable and Ashford borough councillors and officers, as well as representatives of the contractors who have been involved in the reconstruction, have planted a tree to mark the end of the project.
Eight one-bedroom flats, of a similar design to the former properties, have replaced the destroyed ones.
The flats on the first floor, as well as the roof, have been completely renewed, while the ground floor flats have been refurbished.
Tracey Robinson, a resident in one of the original maisonettes, has returned to Oak Tree Road, she said: “Though I lost a lot of possessions, some of which are irreplaceable, I wanted to come back here.
“It is totally different to how it was before and I like the larger living room. I’ve met all of my new neighbours and everyone seems lovely.”
Cllr Gerald White, Ashford Bor- ough Council’s portfolio holder for housing, said: “I am pleased that we are now at a point where the final chapter can be written in this most unfortunate incident.
“Once again, we thank nearby residents for their patience and support during the last two years and trust that the new tenants of these homes will enjoy living in this community.”
The gas explosion and subsequent fire destroyed eight properties two years ago; Ashford Borough Council deputy portfolio holder for housing, Cllr Aline Hicks, puts the finishing touches to the tree planting after the maisonettes were rebuilt