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Holborough Lakes residents return to homes after fire destroyed block of flats

Residents of a block of flats destroyed by a fire are finally able to move back in after more than a year and a half.

The Holborough Lakes blaze forced dozens to flee their homes as flames ripped through the apartment complex in September 2017.

More than 100 fire fighters rushed to the scene to extinguish the inferno and rescue those trapped in their flats in the building in Lambe Close, Manley Boulevard.

WATCH: Residents return to flats after inferno

Today some of the residents of 22 destroyed apartments will be handed back their keys in the first part of a staggered move in.

The momentous day comes after Berkeley Homes, the company which built the flats, announced the completion of their reconstruction in May.

Following that announcement resident Gary Smitherman said: "Some people might feel that they can't move back in because of what they witnessed on that day.

Gary Smitherman's home was destroyed when he was on holiday in Turkey
Gary Smitherman's home was destroyed when he was on holiday in Turkey

"I'm 50-years-old now, I have worked all my life to be in this place. I love Holborough Lakes, it's a stunning place to live.

"We loved out apartment, we had just finished it, it was beautiful, that's where we planned to be for the foreseeable future and then to have it all ripped away from you like that in such a tragic event - it's just mindless."

The day before the move Gary's wife, Lisa, said: "It's going to be a hugely raw and emotional day. It's been such a long time coming. It's something I would not wish upon anybody.

WATCH: KMTV spoke to residents ahead of their move home

The couple have been counting the days they have been unable to return to their home and say dealing with Berkeley Homes has been "a constant battle."

While the company declined to comment on any problems with residents or the cost of the rebuild, a spokesperson did say: “We are pleased that people are finally moving back into their homes.”

Fire investigators say the cause of the blaze may never be known.

Read more: All the latest news from Malling

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