Video & Gallery: One year on from Hatfield fire
PUBLISHED: 10:49 19 August 2008 | UPDATED: 21:11 26 October 2009
ONE year ago, flames and smoke engulfed an entire street in Hatfield after a huge inferno in a block of flats. The blaze which was over 100ft high destroyed the unfinished building and left many of the houses opposite on Lemsford Road damaged. People were
ONE year ago, flames and smoke engulfed an entire street in Hatfield after a huge inferno in a block of flats.
The blaze which was over 100ft high destroyed the unfinished building and left many of the houses opposite on Lemsford Road damaged.
People were made homeless for the night and some were treated for shock.
More than 50 firefighters rushed to save the £9m development.
This week the WHT revisited the scene to see how nearby residents recovered and how the flats have built up since the incident.
Terry Burgham, 69, said how he saw the fire and just ran.
The pensioner, who lives on his own, told the WHT: "It was the biggest fire I have ever seen or ever want to see again.
"Being directly opposite, my house took quite a bit of damage, the door and windows were blown in and the front was badly burnt.
"Luckily, though, I came out unharmed and now the council has replaced most of the damage.
"After being kept back and staying in a hostel for two nights, I really didn't know what I was going to come back to, but nothing inside was too bad."
Mother-of-one Stephanie Rengert, 45, said it took weeks to get her life back on track.
"Because the windows were all smashed in we had to be boarded up for about two months.
"Looking back though the main thing was that we came out unharmed.
"I remember seeing the smoke and thinking it was just a bonfire.
"But then the flames got larger and the window smashed. I think a chip of glass went into my leg but otherwise we were ok.
"My first reaction was to the heat, it was so powerful.
"It was so scary, I'm glad my son was out at the time."
A Welwyn Hatfield Council spokesman said the block is due to be completed in December.
He said: "A site clean up took place a week after the fire and work continued soon after. The cost of the repairs was met by the council's own insurers.
"The council had to pay £30,000 - the excess on the insurance policy."
* The block will be a mixture of 84 privately-rented, shared ownership and key worker flats.
*THE horrendous fire proved to be quite fortuitous for one tenant and his family who received a new house due to the incident.
Glyn Hayes, his wife and three children were cramped in a small flat in Wood Common, Hatfield, and were appealing to the council for larger premises.
The Lemsford Road blaze forced out a family, who had a disabled child, leaving an opportunity for the Hayes to move in.
Glyn said: "It was obviously a really bad fire, we saw the videos.
"However, although it was dreadful we have been quite lucky because we have been given a house.
"The signs of the fire are still clear, though. Our front door isn't safe and the air vent has blown in.