Saturday 23 June 2018

'Trying to live in one room is affecting our relationship' - Family's new stress after Metro Hotel fire

A view of the Metro Hotel following last week's fire. Photo: PA
A view of the Metro Hotel following last week's fire. Photo: PA
Metro Hotel Ballymun fire aftermath
Pictures taken as firefighters tackle huge blaze that broke out at the Metro Hotel in Ballymun. Pic: Brian McEvoy
Conor Feehan

Conor Feehan

A FAMILY left homeless following the fire at the Metro Hotel building in Ballymun have told how living week to week in a hotel room in emergency accommodation is affecting their relationship.

Anita Doktere and her husband Adeel Bashir, and their daughters Javeria (7) and Saira (5) lived in an apartment in the building which was destroyed by the fire that broke out on March 21.

The fire started on the 13th floor and then spread down to the 10th floor.

Thankfully, the apartments and hotel were successfully evacuated and there were no casualties.

Metro Hotel Ballymun fire aftermath
Metro Hotel Ballymun fire aftermath

But the fire left many families on the streets and in need of accommodation.

Anita and Adeel were given temporary emergency accommodation in the nearby Travelodge Hotel in Ballymun.

“We are thankful for it because it is better than being out on the street, but living in one room is very difficult,” Anita told the Herald.

“It is very stressful. I am getting constant headaches with the stress, and my husband has not been able to return to work with the stress,” she added.

Pictures taken as firefighters tackle huge blaze that broke out at the Metro Hotel in Ballymun. Pic: Brian McEvoy
Pictures taken as firefighters tackle huge blaze that broke out at the Metro Hotel in Ballymun. Pic: Brian McEvoy

“Trying to live in one room is affecting our relationship now. The girls need more space. We are having to buy all our meals, and because we don’t have a fridge we can’t even keep a carton of milk fresh,” Anita said.

On Wednesday, she travelled into the city with Adeel to meet with Dublin City Council for an update.

“Our accommodation has been covered for another week and we have filled out Housing Assistance Payment (HAP) forms, so we are hoping that we will soon get somewhere to live,” Anita said.

“I need a kitchen where I can cook again and have some normality. We know accommodation is hard to find but since the fire we feel like we are at the back of the queue,” she added.

Metro Hotel Ballymun fire aftermath
Metro Hotel Ballymun fire aftermath

“What happens next week for us is a worry. We are living week to week with no certainty and it is stressful.”

Anita said that they retrieved some of their documents from the fire, such as their passports, but that everything else was destroyed.

“We have lost all our wedding photographs and the photos of the girls. We had them in frames and on laptops, but they were destroyed and we have nothing backed-up,” she said.

“And the girls have lost all the certificates they got from school showing they are good students, and all their dolls and toys,” Anita added.

Local councillor Noeleen Reilly, who has been representing affected families, said it is imperative that Dublin City Council emergency accommodation continues where necessary, and families are assisted through the HAP system if needed.

“I have never dealt with a situation like this before, and the one thing I learned is that there is no strategy or plan in place when these type of incidents occur,” Cllr Reilly said.

“We now need to implement strategies should anything like this ever happen again,” she added.

Dublin City Council said that it received a small number of calls from Metro residents in the placement service of the Dublin Region Homeless Executive (DRHE) the morning after the fire.

They were advised to contact the local community welfare officer for emergency needs and those seeking accommodation were advised to contact the DRHE in Parkgate Street.

“On April 4 and 5 a very small number of families presented to our homeless central placement service in Parkgate Hall.

“Due to the extenuating and difficult circumstances that these families have found themselves in, we have, in the interim, provided emergency accommodation for all of those that presented, pending assessment of their homeless applications,” said a spokeswoman.

Herald

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