Most damaged flats at site of Haut du Mont explosion to be demolished

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THE most damaged blocks of flats left standing following the explosion at Haut du Mont are due to be demolished.

The government said the decision had been made as the two buildings – containing flats 22 to 26, and 33 to 36 – in the immediate impact zone were ‘rapidly degrading’, with material falling, particularly during high winds.

Ten people were killed as a result of the blast which shocked the Island.

Ministers also considered the ’emotionally triggering’ presence of the buildings to those impacted by the incident, according to a government release issued on Tuesday.

The remaining blocks – flats 1 to 21 – will remain for the time being while the damage is assessed, the government said.

There were 29 households displaced because of the explosion, with all residents being put in temporary accommodation immediately following the incident. The government previously confirmed that residents would not be returning to Haut du Mont and had been offered new permanent accommodation.

A memorial to the incident is also being considered, according to the government, which would be located on the explosion site.

A consultation is due to take place with the bereaved families, displaced residents and the wider community on what form that memorial would take.

Bereaved families and displaced residents have been informed of the decision and continue to receive support from the States police’s family liaison officers.

The Political Oversight Group for the Major Incidents – which was set up in December last year in response to the explosion and sinking of L’Ecume II to liaise between ministers and the operational Recovery Coordination Group – were acting on a recommendation from Andium Homes and the RCG to remove the flats.

Deputy Chief Minister Kirsten Morel – who chairs the oversight group – said: ‘The immediate proposal is to seek removal of the three most damaged blocks and the associated materials. This work being considered necessary by the RCG with the support of Andium to appropriately manage the risk to public safety.

‘These blocks lost windows due to the explosion, and the roof structures have been deemed severely damaged. This has allowed water penetration over the last four months which has further damaged the interior of the structures. Internal degradation and collapse of ceilings now pose a threat to anyone entering the buildings.’

He added: ‘Ministers are seeking the most appropriate mechanism for granting the demolition of the buildings, and a further update will be provided in due course.

‘The decision has been taken with the highest sensitivity and with the best interests of bereaved families, displaced residents, and our Island community. Ministers have recommended that a memorial is to be agreed for the explosion site itself and the immediate surrounding area where the buildings to be demolished currently stand. This will be in consultation with the bereaved families, displaced residents, and the wider community.’

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