Several residents have claimed they have still been unable to return to their homes 39 days after a fire at a block of flats in Erith.

Around 70 firefighters and ten fire engines tackled the blaze in Grange House, Sun Court at 9.20am on March 16.

29 people were rescued from the building by fire crews and eight of those escaped using fire escape hoods.

A further two were rescued from the second floor and three people were taken to hospital for treatment.

A resident, who wishes to be kept anonymous, told the News Shopper that they have been put into temporary accommodation at the Marriott Hotel in Bexleyheath.

He explained: “It’s a distressing situation that we’re in as we are unable to go back into our homes.

“I miss my bed, my belongings, and just that sense of being in a house with my family.

“We’re in a hotel but it feels so strange being here because it doesn’t really belong to you.”

A spokesperson for Orbit Housing, which manages Grange House, said it appreciates that living in temporary accommodation can be “very difficult” and “frustrating”.

They say their focus is to ensure that Grange House is made safe for residents while making “good” progress on the necessary repair works.

The spokesperson explained: “Building renovations can take time to undertake. 

“We are keeping customers updated throughout and whilst we can’t yet confirm the date that they’ll be able to return to their homes, we’re doing our upmost to get customers home as quickly as possible.”

The resident also claimed that they were expected to be let back into the flats on April 16 but this was extended to May 15 by Orbit.

He added: “We were told by Orbit that we would be back in our homes by April 16 but now they’re saying it’s May 15.

“It just keeps getting extended and I’m not sure if they’re really thinking about those affected by this.

“I hope we’ll be let back in soon and it doesn’t get extended once again.”

Orbit Housing said it has continued to provide customers with access to their homes for essential items throughout which is only on an appointment basis to ensure that everyone on site is safe.

The spokesperson explained: “We’ve provided additional financial support including food and meal allowances, shopping vouchers, transport and laundry costs, as well as access to mental health support and other welfare advice should they need it.”

Another person also claimed on the public Slade Green and Erith Facebook page that the incident has “ruined people's lives”.

They added: “My daughter has been moved around about four times so far, one night all they got was one room with six people to sleep in. It’s an absolute joke.

“She's been told unless you have house insurance they won't replace all the food that's all defrosted in people's freezers and fridges.

“I think they should all be compensated for all that.”

As the power in the building has been turned off, any food left in the fridge or freezer will be thrown away, according to the Orbit Housing site.

However, residents should be able to claim the costs of any food items that have been thrown away through their home contents insurance.

The News Shopper also previously reported that several residents claimed fire alarms did not go off at the time of the fire.

One person said: “There were no alarms that went off in the communal areas to let other residents know there was a fire in the block.

“Residents on the same floor and above and below did not even know there was a fire until emergency services came banging on their doors”.

Another claimed: “We didn’t hear anything and didn’t even know there was a fire until fire crews started rushing in.”

The fire was under control just after 11.30am.

Fire crews from Bexley, Plumstead, East Greenwich, Lee Green, Erith and surrounding fire stations attended the scene.

The cause of the fire is under investigation by London Fire Brigade and the Metropolitan Police Service.