Photo gallery: Lucky to be alive - the man whose house collapsed onto Fenland street wrecking two cars

09:46 17 February 2014

Storm damage in East Park Street, Chatteris

Storm damage in East Park Street, Chatteris

Archant

A man narrowly escaped serious injury when the building in which he was sleeping collapsed and debris sent flying over cars parked nearby.

Clearing up the mess and looking for a passport: aftermath of Chatteris building collapseClearing up the mess and looking for a passport: aftermath of Chatteris building collapse

At least two cars were seriously damaged as high winds struck East Park Street, Chatteris, in the early hours of Saturday.

The two cars damaged belong to Rebecca Anderson and her mother, but both say they were far more concerned about possible injuries to the people living there.

Last night Ms Anderson said residents were anxious about the state of the collapsed building and feared that children might be tempted to play there during this week’s half-term holiday.

She added that little work had been done so far to remove the debris from the area and residents planned to contact Fenland Council today.

Storm damage in East Park Street, ChatterisStorm damage in East Park Street, Chatteris

Ms Anderson said he had moved in there last August and she had seen a woman helping to put a washing machine into the building.

It is not known who owns the building, but locally residents believe it is a woman who once lived in the town but has since moved to Grimsby.

So far as her own car is concerned Ms Anderson said once the bricks and rubble had been removed over the weekend “it doesn’t look so bad”.

However, she addded: “But my poor mother’s Ka which she had cherished and loved for 15 years is a write-off. It’s very sad as mum only had 50,000 or so miles on the clock and the insurance will never be enough for what it was worth to her and meant to her.”

Alan Melton, leader of Fenland District Council and a Chatteris councillor, promised council building control officers and engineers would be on the scene today.

“We will ensure that the area is safe and clear,” he said.

And he added that with experience of dealing with derelict buildings in Wisbech “we shall be acting speedily to resolve this issue in Chatteris”.

Ms Anderson said the building was formerly known as The Lucky Parrot and was for many years an antiques shop.

Residents in and around East Park Street were awoken just after 2am by the sound of the building collapsing and bricks and mortar sent flying over nearby cars.

Emergency services were quickly on the scene and they discovered part of the building measuring 5mx10m had collapsed.

A spokesman for Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service said: “All persons were accounted for and luckily there were no injuries.

“One crew from Chatteris and a crew from Sutton attended and returned to their bases by around 3am.”

Yesterday the man left without a room was anxiously rummaging through the wreckage left behind to find his personal belongings.

“I feel desperately sorry for him,” said Ms Anderson. “We are trying to do all we can to help. We’ve been on to Fenland Council for several years trying to get something done about this building. We were never sure if people should have been living there.”

She said everyone felt he was “incredibly lucky” to escape without injury.

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