doc

A woman made homeless by a fire says she was told to return to her flat to live - even though it was filled with toxic fumes.

But Barnet Homes denies giving her this advice when she appealed to the housing provider for accomodation after her West Hendon estate flat was left blackened by smoke on Sunday night.

Jodie Smith lives in a one-bedroom flat in Warner Close with her one-year-old son, whose epilepsy means he has regular hospital appointments in north London.

Despite this, Ms Smith was only offered a studio flat in Luton.

The London Fire Brigade attended the fire on Sunday at around 7pm, but according to Ms Smith, no fire alarms went off and no sprinkler systems are installed

Ms Smith said her son, who also suffers from bronchitis, was seen by staff at Barnet General Hospital, all of whom insisted that she could not return to the flat.

Ms Smith said: “They just do not care - their reactions were just awful.

“They are telling me to go back to a smoke-filled flat but on my son’s discharge letter from the hospital they say he cannot go back.”

She also said the police, who have been investigating, have also said say they should not return as the area is a crime scene. 

Ms Smith spent almost seven hours at Barnet Council offices on Monday, and returned again the following day to be offered another studio flat, this time in Brent.

She and her son have since been sleeping on the sofa at her mother’s house. 

A Barnet Homes spokesman said the building did not require sprinkler systems due to its size but all its properties had fire detection and alarm systems.

She added: “Barnet Homes is working closely with Ms Smith to secure suitable, alternative accommodation.”

Seven people were treated for smoke inhalation and five were taken to hospital.

Mina Daud, 23, of Warner Close, has been charged with two counts of arson.

She appeared at Hendon Magistrates’ Court on Tuesday and has been remanded in custody, and will appear at Harrow Crown Court on October 10.