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Will Self escapes with children as their roof falls in

The writer Will Self has described how he had to evacuate his family after the roof of his home fell through on Tuesday night.

Four fire engines and a fire rescue vehicle were called to the road at 9pm, and one resident said a helicopter used thermal-imaging technology to check nobody else was left inside.

Speaking yesterday as he surveyed the wrecked four-storey Victorian townhouse in Stockwell, south London, Mr Self said:

"It was like the front of my house fell off." Talking to the Evening Standard, he added: "I got the children out to the back of the property because it was all about to go. Once things had stopped falling off I got them out through the front door. Somebody could have been killed."

His wife, the Guardian journalist Deborah Orr, tweeted: "Our house, and the four neighbouring houses, are OVER."

She added: "No one knows what caused it yet, but it's emergency services central. Helicopters, the lot."