David Kassler: Former Phones4U boss's mansion collapses as builders work on huge basement complex

No one injured as west London property caves in like a 'tower of cards'

Josh Barrie@JoshBythesea
Friday 27 November 2015 01:06
The Georgian house in Barnes was undergoing an excavation of its basement
The Georgian house in Barnes was undergoing an excavation of its basement

A townhouse owned by the former boss of Phones4U David Kassler collapsed today like a “tower of cards”.

The £3.5 million Georgian home, in Barnes, west London, came plummeting down as builders worked on a basement project below.

The property was once home to Grammy winner Duffy, and Ebenezer Morley, who founded the Football Association, also lived there.

It’s now a little worse for wear.

Mr Kassler was given planning permission in October last year to work on the lower floor that was to house a cinema, gym, and wine area.

But at midday on Thursday, witnesses said bricks and mortar were catapulted into the road as the house, which stood just 10ft from the River Thames, crumbled.

Those nearby described hearing a “massive crash” as the ceilings caved in. Panicked builders flooded out as the walls fell around them.

Firefighters were called to the scene and searched inside Mr Kassler’s former mansion, while neighbours were evacuated close by.

Stewart Grint was delivering a parcel there at the time. “I was sat in my van on the side road next to the house which collapsed,” he told Mail Online.

“I heard a massive crash and looked in my wing mirrors to see bricks and debris flying everywhere. There were no other people nearby and my van was maybe 50ft away from the outer wall, which was sent crashing into a parked truck. Luckily that truck took the impact otherwise the debris would have flown into the main street.

“I've never seen anything like it. The builders came running out from all angles. Luckily nobody was injured - that's a minor miracle in itself.” He added that emergency services arrived within 15 minutes.

The London Fire Brigade said: “The whole of the three storey house fell to the ground.” They also confirmed nobody remained inside as the property collapsed.

According to Mark Welsh, director of Kram Developments, there were workers on site at the time of the collapse but insisted the renovation wasn’t to blame. “It’s just an old building,” Mr Welsh remarked.

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