Witness heard girl screaming as building collapsed (From East London and West Essex Guardian Series)
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Witness heard girl screaming as building collapsed in Woodford Green
A witness has described how he heard a girl screaming moments after the house she was in collapsed.
Building work was going on next door to the semi-detached, two-storey property in Abbotsford Gardens, Woodford Green, when the part of the structure above a garage collapsed at 5.30pm yesterday.
A young girl and her grandmother were inside at the time but escaped injury and were rescued by firefighters.
Neighbour Steve Thompson, 61, witnessed the drama unfold.
He said: “I went to look at the cracks from a hole that had been dug out by builders when I heard a crack and a rumbling and had to run for it.
“About 10 seconds later it collapsed.
“If I had stayed where I was I would have been dead.
“After it collapsed all I could hear was the girl screaming from inside the house.”
A nearby car was also damaged by the collapse and the house has been cordoned off by police tape.
Next door neighbour, Ethel Downey, said the scene reminded her of the Blitz.
The 85-year-old said: "When I lived in the East End of London in the Second World War we would see whole streets looking like this, but it is certainly not something you expect to see in this day and age.
"I was watching television at the time but I am hard of hearing so didn't realise it had happened.
"If Steve had not knocked on my door I wouldn't have known, it is shocking really.
"I'm just glad everyone was safe."
Phil Jeff, a 67-year-old cab driver who lives opposite the collapsed building, said 3m trenches were being dug next to the structure.
He said: "It could have killed those inside, it was extremely lucky they were not in the part of the building that collapsed at the time.
"Me and my wife left the house about 2.30pm and I said to her something was wrong. Large holes had been dug between the two houses with no support whatsoever.
"The street is on a slight gradient so it doesn't take a genius to see it was not stable. But for it to collapse like that is incredible really."
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