Tuesday, 21 May 2019

Families evacuated

THREE families had to leave their homes in Caversham after high winds caused a gable wall to collapse.

THREE families had to leave their homes in Caversham after high winds caused a gable wall to collapse.

Firefighters and police were called to Gosbrook Road on Friday evening after part of the brick gable on a terraced house fell apart.

Paul Lawless and Justyna Staszczyk were evacuated for the night, together with their neighbours on either side, and a section of the street was closed. The road was re-opened on Saturday after temporary repairs had been carried out.

Mr Lawless, 39, a credit analyst, said: “We were in the living room watching television when we heard a loud noise. We went out to the back garden and saw a big flowerpot that had been blown on to the ground.

“The neighbours knocked on the door and told me I was missing part of my roof. They had called the fire brigade who came out to have a look and deemed the house unsafe for that evening.”

Mr Lawless and Miss Staszczyk, 34, a personal assistant, stayed at his mother’s house in Burnham for the night.

in South Oxfordshire, which occurred within a very short time-frame.

“These are ongoing incidents and our firefighters are working hard to get the fires under control with assistance from neighbouring fire and rescue services at the district council fire.

“At this stage I am unable to state what the causes of the fires were. This matter is currently in the hands of Thames Valley Police, with whom we are working in conjunction.”

The district council confirmed on Twitter that most of its services would be disrupted by the “major” fire. A spokesman said: “We are putting our business continuity plan into place to make sure the effect on the most important services is kept to a minimum. We will set up an emergency phone line for people who have urgent enquiries.”

The council offices house about 400 staff, including those in the housing, planning, building control and leisure departments.

Vale of District Council staff moved into the building from Abingdon last year as part of a cost-saving measures by the two councils.

Roads in the surrounding area were affected by the drama.

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