Harrow Court: Risen from the ashes

PUBLISHED: 11:00 08 March 2007 | UPDATED: 11:40 06 May 2010

Robbie Blackham and daughter Kyla in the refurbished bedroom

Robbie Blackham and daughter Kyla in the refurbished bedroom

THE grey stonework would make Harrow Court look uninviting even on a warm day. So on a winter s afternoon with a chill wind blowing it looks even more stark and unappealing. Since February 2, 2005, the high rise block of flats at the end of Silam Road, St

The burnt out bedroom of flat 85 where the fire started

THE grey stonework would make Harrow Court look uninviting even on a warm day. So on a winter's afternoon with a chill wind blowing it looks even more stark and unappealing.

Since February 2, 2005, the high rise block of flats at the end of Silam Road, Stevenage, has been linked with tragedy following the deaths of two firefighters and one resident in flat 85.

Step out on to the 14th floor where the tragedy happened and there is an eerie feeling with the wind moaning up the concrete stairwell where the dry riser fire hydrant remains chained and locked like the night two years ago when firefighters struggled to get water to the blaze behind the door of flat 85.

Inside the flat there are no signs of the fire that ripped through the apartment causing the horror.

The walls are painted a light cream and the white ceilings reflect a bright light.

It is now the home of machinist Robbie Blackham, 25, and his two-month pregnant wife Kimberly, 23, and their two-year-old daughter Kyla.

They say when they moved in they didn't know it was where the tragedy happened but say they are happy there.

"We are not superstitious," said Robbie playing with a ball with Kyla while Kimberly relaxed on the pink sofa after a few days in hospital.

"We knew the fire was on the 14th floor but not in our flat. Obviously our home has become the focus of public attention in the media during the inquest. We are not bothered. For us it is just somewhere to live and much cheaper than renting privately.

"We have had a few scares with kids setting the fire alarms off in the building but we test our smoke alarm regularly to make sure it is working.

"People have said does it bother us now we know of all the terrible things that happened here and to be honest it doesn't

"It was just a terrible tragedy and we have a lot of sympathy for the families who lost loved ones."

At the entrance to Harrow Court there is a poignant sign telling firefighters that bolt croppers are required for dry riser landing valves. It serves as a reminder of the night when tragedy touched Harrow Court.


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