pounds 750,000 home left in ruins
Wednesday 14 October 1998
A small crack appeared and the whole structure collapsed within minutes.
More than 50 people attending a nearby centre for the disabled were evacuated, many using wheelchairs and walking frames. One was wheeled out on a trolley after being caught half-way through a reflexology treatment. A six-year- old girl had to be rescued by firefighters from the house next door after rubble blocked the exits.
Stephen Willis, the owner and a company director, said: "We were very happy there. We loved the area."
His three children took the news "surprising well" but his wife, Victoria, was very upset. The 1830s house was insured and the family hoped to rebuild on the same spot, Mr Willis added.
The firm responsible for the building work was G&D Building Services, of Northolt, west London. Peter Doherty, the company's contracts manager, said he had no idea what made the property collapse on Friday. Mr Doherty said: "We are sure it was a fault with the existing structure." The builders had been shaken. "It doesn't happen every day."
The firm had delegated the underpinning work to specialist subcontractors Stress UK Ltd, of Slough.
David Kitching, the head of Stress UK, said the property's age and condition were likely to have caused the collapse.
But Martin Runnacles, of Winkworth's estate agents in Notting Hill, said in his whole career he had never known a property of the same kind to collapse. "People do have problems with London clay, but I have never heard of anything like this. They are fantastic properties and are highly sought after. They usually fetch at least pounds 750,000."
Howard Nash, of architects Nash Parker, acting as contract administrators for the family, said until an investigation was completed by Westminster council the cause of the collapse would not be known.
- 2 Moscow voted the world's unfriendliest city
- 3 The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
- 4 I'm pansexual – here are the five biggest misconceptions about my sexuality
- 5 More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
The excuses your boss is most likely to believe when you call in sick
Bono's group has made more money from Facebook investment than from all his music
Three-year-old ultra-Orthodox Jewish children told 'the non-Jews' are 'evil' in worksheet produced by London school
Wikipedia rocked by 'rogue editors' blackmail scam targeting small businesses and celebrities
More than 11,000 Icelanders offer to house Syrian refugees to help European crisis
Climate change: 2015 will be the hottest year on record 'by a mile', experts say
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches, it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don’t change Europe’s attitude to refugees, what will?
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
Theresa May says migrants should be banned from entering the UK unless they have jobs lined up
£40000 - £42000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This is an exciting opportunity...
£35000 - £40000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This IT support company has a n...
Negotiable: Recruitment Genius: A works engineer is required in a progressive ...
£21000 - £25000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Our client is seeking someone w...