One of the victims from yesterday’s huge blaze at Holborough Lakes has spoken about her frightening experience.
Louise Finch was asleep in her flat in the cream block at the flats in Lambe Close, when she was awoken by someone hammering on her front door shortly before 7am.
Hearing there was a fire, she looked out to see flames belching from the balcony area of the top flat of the adjacent blue block.
She said: "It was really close to us and very frightening."
She fled the building with her 18-year-old daughter Georgia Gilbert, and Georgia’s friend Amber, from Borough Green also 18, who had been staying overnight.
She told the girls to run to the community centre on the estate, where they would be safe, while she joined neighbours in banging on the doors and windows of those who had not yet got out.
She said: “It was surreal. Suddenly the middle bit of the flats went bang and there were flames everywhere.”
Mrs Finch, 37, a beauty therapist, and her daughter, a student at Bromley College, have spent the night in the Holiday Inn at Wrotham, courtesy of Berkeley Homes who built the estate, but neither of them got much sleep.
"We were just shaking all night with the shock and Georgia had terrible nightmares" - Louise Finch
“We were just shaking all night with the shock and Georgia had terrible nightmares,” she said.
She is expecting her apartment to be condemned, but there is a meeting later today to tell residents the latest findings.
Meanwhile, Kent Fire and Rescue are still damping down at the scene of the blaze using a turntable ladder and specialist equipment. At its height yesterday, a 100 firefighters were at work tackling the blaze in the wooden-clad three-storey apartment block.
Nicola Holyoak and her partner Sam Burton also had to evacuate their home yesterday. They were in the same block as the fire, but are keeping their fingers crossed that they escaped any damage.
Miss Holyoak said: "We went back this morning to see if we could get some stuff, but we weren't allowed in. The firemen said they were still testing to see if the electrics were safe."
Berkeley Homes had offered to put the couple up in a hotel along with the other evacuees, but they preferred to stay with Miss Holyoak's parents in Sittingbourne.
She said: "I didn't really sleep much last night. I was just on social media checking up with everyone and reading their comments.
"One thing about Holborough Lakes is that there's a really good community spirit here, which this has brought out."
The couple are hoping to be told by the estate's managing agents RMG that they can move back into their apartment later today.
A Facebook page set up to help victims of the fire has already broken its initial target of £2,000 with more than 100 individual donations, and organisers are now aiming for £5,000.
To donate, visit www.justgiving.com/crowdfunding/holboroughlakesfire