Twenty homes destroyed and families homeless after Croydon flat fire at St James Court
Twenty homes were destroyed and several families left homeless after a fire ripped through their block of flats.
Eight fire engines and 40 firefighters were called to the blaze at St James Court on St James Road, at about 5pm on Friday.
A 13-year-old boy escaped the flames by leaping to safety from a first floor window, while firefighters used a ladder to rescue a man from a flat on the top floor of the four storey building.
No one was injured in the fire, which was under control by 7pm, but some of the building's roof was destroyed in the blaze.
All 20 flats in the block, which consists of a mixture of private tenants and owner occupiers, have been left uninhabitable due to fire, water and smoke damage.
The cause of the fire is still under investigation.
At least 28 people, including 10 children spent Friday night at a rest centre in Whitehorse Road, where they were given food and other basic items.
Croydon Council helped all residents find temporary accommodation in B&B's, hotels and apartments and the rest centre was closed on the Friday night.
On Monday, as residents returned to their homes for the first time to inspect the damage, some complained they were homeless after being kicked out of their temporary accommodation.
One resident said he has been forced to sleep in his car after being told he could no longer stay in emergency accommodation.
Hanipan, 24, who lives on the fourth floor spent the last three nights sleeping in his car.
He said: "The smoke has destroyed everything, everything is burned. There is black dust everywhere. We had no contents insurance and have no clothes to wear.
"We got kicked out of the hostel after staying Friday night and I've slept in the car for the last three nights, I have nowhere to go."
Council staff have explained to private tenants it is the responsibility of their landlords to re-house them, but not all residents have been able to reach them and many landlords are uninsured.
This has forced some residents to try and find alternative housing with family and friends.
Sandra Harrison and her partner William Graham lived on the second floor with two other adults and a two-year-old child.
The family have been forced to stay with a friend since Friday, Mr Graham said: "We went to the council and they said the landlord is supposed to have insurance which would cover the tenants. We don't know what we will do."
A spokesman for Croydon Council said: "As part of the council's emergency response, residents were given temporary accommodation to allow them time to be able to make arrangements for alternative accommodation with landlords and insurance companies.
"If they were unable to make arrangements, they were advised to contact the council.
"On Monday six households presented themselves to us and we arranged further temporary accommodation for all of them except one who chose to stay with relatives.
"The managing agent was also at the property yesterday offering advice and arranging alternative accommodation."