Man injured in house collapse

A MAN is lucky to be alive after the gable end of his home partially collapsed, showering him with rubble.Terence Carlarne , 67, needed hospital treatment to stitch gashes to his head and was left battered and bruised after heavy chunks of flint and bricks tumbled down, leaving the chimney of his Thetford home in a perilous condition.

A MAN is lucky to be alive after the gable end of his home partially collapsed, showering him with rubble.

Terence Carlarne , 67, needed hospital treatment to stitch gashes to his head and was left battered and bruised after heavy chunks of flint and bricks tumbled down, leaving the chimney of his Thetford home in a perilous condition.

The first indication that something was wrong came just before 7pm on Saturday when Mr Carlarne and his wife heard a strange noise and went to investigate.

“We heard something which we thought was the dustbins blowing over in the wind,” he said.


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“My wife went out to look, but she saw nothing. Then I stepped out and saw a bit of a bulge in the wall and then, in a millisecond, it was on me.

“It fell so sudden I had no time to get out of the way.

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“One of the firemen said if it had been a brick that hit me on the head I wouldn't be here today, but it was a few flints that got me.

“I went to the West Suffolk Hospital in Bury and they were marvellous.”

The couple have lived in the Mill Lane cottage, which is in a terrace of three, for 30 years. They were evacuated on Saturday night along with their immediate neighbour, the other house being unoccupied at the time.

“It was a shock. I am upset and my wife even more so as we have just bought new furniture and it has all got to go into storage,” added Mr Carlarne, who believes the recent heavy rainfall and high winds may have caused the wall to become unstable.

He and his wife were allowed back into the property yesterday to gather up their personal possessions and valuables.

They will be staying with their daughter and son-in-law until repairs are carried out to the building, which dates from the 1800s and is listed for its historic and architectural interest.

Two fire crews from Thetford were sent to the scene following the collapse and assisted police in putting up barricades around the house, which fronts directly onto the road.

Breckland Council building control officials also visited the site, and the two adjoining cottages have now been given the all clear, following initial concerns that they might also have structural problems.

Paul Burrell, an independent civil and structural engineer acting for Mr and Mrs Carlarnes' insurers, said the gable wall was in such a dangerous state that workmen would be carrying out emergency repairs yesterday afternoon.

“We are going to come in with a telescopic boom and will start demolishing the chimney to render the property safe, such that there can't be any masonry falling on anybody, and then we will undertake engineering work.

“Because the property is listed, we will then have the joys of going through the process of getting listed building consent which is far more onerous than normal planning consent,” he said.

Mr Burrell estimated it could be three months before the couple are able to return to their home.

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