Lucky escape for blacksmith after workshop collapse
THESE dramatic photos depict a Cheltenham blacksmith’s narrow escape after his workshop came crashing down.
Seventy-four-year-old Nigel King left his workshop for a cup of coffee and returned to a pile of wreckage.
He said: “I am very lucky to be alive.”
It all happened in the back garden of Mr King’s home in Old Bath Road, Leckhampton.
Gents, come in to Earl's & Co and enjoy a haircut and finish, glass of whisky and a shoeshine for £18.50
Terms: Later and earlier appointments available upon request
Contact: 01242 504887
Valid until: Tuesday, December 31 2013
Fire crews on the scene cut the electricity and made the area safe and have told Mr King not to go into his garden for fear of further damage.
Mr King is now waiting for structural engineers to decide if the building can be saved.
It had been standing since it was built in 1884 and was in use before Mr King moved to the address.
On Saturday, he remembers working in the building before hearing a large “bang” from above.
He had returned to his home out of harm’s way – moments before the brick structure caved in on itself.
He said: “I was in the workshop and there was a bang like an aircraft had come down.
“I was at the other end of the building and I just heard this big crash towards the house.
“There was an enormous cloud of dust from the bricks which came from the collapsed roof.
“I am semi-retired and tend to do a few bits and pieces in the shop. I was a bit shaken up at the thought of the building coming down – it was quite horrendous.”
A wedding was taking place in the garden next door at The Wheatsheaf Inn.
“It’s lucky that the walls didn’t fall towards the pub,” continued Mr King. “It could have been nasty.
“The rubble had come down around 30 seconds to a minute after I left. If I had been a bit slower, I would have had a ton of bricks fall on me.”
Iain Houston, building con manager, said: “Cheltenham and Tewkesbury Building Control Service were called to Old Bath Road on Saturday, September 7 by Gloucestershire Fire and Rescue Service. A structure had partially collapsed and a Building Control Officer attended the site to assess the stability and safety of the remaining structure.
“On Sunday, the officer revisited the site and confirmed the site and failed structure did not constitute a risk to people in and around the building.”
The Building Act 1984 provides legislation under which dangerous structures can be assessed.