Residents of a block of flats in Lochgelly destroyed in a huge blaze will never be able to return home as the building is set to be demolished.
A structural survey carried out by Fife Council following the fire at Francis Street has deemed the building to be unsafe.
Due to the amount of fire damage in the 12 flats, and saturation to the internal cavity walls from water pumped onto the properties during the blaze, the building is now at risk of collapse.
Residents who were forced to flee the site will not be able to retrieve most of their belongings before the flats are razed.
Efforts to collect sentimental items before Lochgelly fire flats demolished
However, efforts are being made to recover some essential documents and sentimental items such as photographs – though this is dependent on weather conditions and being able to access certain parts of the building.
All residents in the flats – 11 of which are owned by Fife Council – escaped unharmed after the fire on October 23.
Jamie Morrison, 33, and Chloe Arnott, 30, both of Glenrothes, have since appeared in court accused of attempted murder.
Greig Henderson, Fife Council service manager, told The Courier: “The survey on the Francis Street flats confirms the extent of the fire damage.
“We met with residents earlier this week to inform them that the structural and water damage means we will unfortunately have to demolish the block.
“We continue to support them through this unsettling time.
“It is hoped that, where safe, we will be able to retrieve small items and mementoes later this week.
“Long-term solutions will vary, depending on individual household needs.
“Work is already underway to identify alternative housing options for everyone who was affected.”
‘Limited time’ to access Lochgelly flats head of demolition
Councillor Mary Lockhart, who helped raise the alarm during the fire, says it is a race against time to retrieve items from the flats.
She said: “Due to the deteriorating condition of the building, we now only have a very limited time in which to access the property.
“Also, due to safety concerns, only two officers will be allowed inside the building at any one time.
“Efforts will be made to locate small family heirlooms and documents but we have no guarantee that they will be accessible.
“For those who lived on the upper floors, due to the damage from the fire itself and the water, sadly it is less likely that those items will have survived.
“Having met with residents, I have sympathy for those who are now coming to terms with having lost everything they own.
“Demolition will be very soon, given the extent of the damage that has occurred.”