Neighbour evacuated after Burnley house collapses

A Burnley man has told how he woke to find the front of the house next door had collapsed into the road during high winds.

Thursday, 13th February 2014, 10:33 am
John Rhodes who lives next door to the collapsed house on Herbert Street.

Care worker James Rhodes (47), of Herbert Street, said he heard a loud bang around 4-30am this morning.

When he came to go to work he found rubble all over his car and the front of the mid-terraced property collapsed into the street. Mr Rhodes called firefighters who drafted in the specialist Urban Search and Rescue to make the property safe.

Mr Rhodes, who lives with his two cats Texas and Stitch, said: “About 4-30am I heard a loud bang and I looked out of the bedroom window but I couldn’t see anything. But when I came to go work the rubble was all over my car.

John Rhodes who lives next door to the collapsed house on Herbert Street.

“I just kept thinking if it was all going to go, it would take me with it.

“I don’t know where I’m going to stay but something will turn up. All my stuff’s inside but the fire brigade got my cats out and I’ve taken them to a neighbour’s house.”

Crews cordoned off part of Herbert Street around the junction with Queensberry Road and emergency fencing was put up around the collapsed house.

Mr Rhodes, who rents his house from a private landlord, has been told he has to find emergency accommodation until a survey is carried out on his property while the authorities try and trace the owner of the damaged house.

Firefighters said excavation work carried out underneath the building had caused it to collapse and said while storms and high winds were not directly responsible they could have contributed to the collapse.

Mr Rhodes said he thinks the owner of the house is from Manchester and had been recently carrying out building work on the property.

“I just keep thinking it could’ve pulled me down with it.”

Denise Odgers, fire station manager for Pendle rural, said: “When we arrived we immediately cordoned off the area and checked the properties either side and evacuated one of the adjacent properties.

“We asked for United Utilities, gas, electric and building control to come out.

“Two properties at the moment are not structurally sound.”