NEARLY two years after a devastating explosion tore through a quiet street in South Harrow, residents have finally started to move back into their homes.
But one family says the site has been badly neglected since the blast and that the rubble left behind is a constant reminder of their neighbour's death.
Just before 10pm on May 7, 2008, the lives of those living in Stanley Road was changed forever when a gas explosion tore through the street, making many people homeless.
Paul Redmond, his wife Lisa and their three children, Aisling, 15, Ciara, 13, and 10-year-old Conor, were one of the families uprooted after the blast.
The five of them spent nearly six weeks packed into a single room at the Harrow Hotel before their insurance company found them temporary accommodation in Ashbourne Avenue, Harrow on the Hill.
But having moved back into the family home they have shared since 1998, the Redmonds say the site has been neglected and ignored.
Hoardings have been placed around the former home of Emmad Qureshi, the 26-year-old businessman who died in the blast.
Speaking to the Observer, Mr Redmond expressed concerns about the stability of the boards and claims the rubbish left to fester in place of his neighbour's house is attracting vermin.
Mr Redmond, 48, said: "Obviously this whole experience has been a nightmare for me and my family.
"We were looking forward to coming back and getting a sense of normality again but the road has been left in a complete state.
"Each time we come home we are left with this reminder of that night and the devastating effect it had on us and our neighbours. The rubbish in and around the two houses next door has left us completely exposed.
"We have been flocked with pigeons and rats and I can't seem to get through to anyone that knows whose responsibility it is. The only help I have had has come from our MP, Gareth Thomas.
"The hoarding that has been put up looks really unsafe. It is only a matter of time before it collapses and if it were to land on a child who knows what will happen. I think the people on this road have had to deal with enough."
Although much of the clean-up needs to be carried out by the insurance companies of the owners of the properties, Harrow Council has now promised to help out. A council spokesman said: "We have agreed to take down the hoarding because the owners haven't taken responsibility for it - and we will do that as an emergency.
"We will do all we can to address any other problems there and if there are issues with vermin, they need to reported to our environmental health teams."