ELEVEN families left homeless after a fire in their block of flats last Friday will not be able to return for weeks.

More than 40 people were evacuated from their homes in Venners Water, Didcot, as firefighters tackled the blaze, after being called at 5am.

Last night, the Home Group housing association, which owns the property, said 11 families had been unable to return to their flats.

Six chose to stay with family and another five are currently staying in a local hotel.

The housing association’s executive director of customer service, Rosemary Du Rose, said: “We understand that this has been a frightening experience for residents and we’ll do everything we can to help them while they are in emergency accommodation.

“We had five employees on site on the day of the fire to help residents, and we have now assigned three members of staff to act as customer care representatives for the 11 families who could not return to their homes due to fire damage and ongoing police investigations.”

Police last night said they were looking into the possibility that the cause of the blaze could have been arson.

Residents believe the fire started in an empty flat.