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12 September 2011, 18:05
15 cars have been damaged after the roof of an industrial unit in County Durham collapsed during strong winds from the tail end of Hurricane Katia.
A row of five almost-finished industrial units in Langley Moor came down as if it had been subject to a controlled explosion, the operations manager at Bako Northern next door said.
The roof blew off on to Bako's car park, crushing employees' vehicles, but injuring no-one.
Group operations manager Sean Kelly said:
'It was extremely lucky for us, all our drivers were out, there were no contractors or visitors. There was nobody hit by a flying brick, though debris was strewn across the yard.'
The dramatic collapse happened at around 9.40am when the winds were gusting strongly across the industrial estate.
Mr Kelly, in charge of health and safety at the bakery ingredients distributor where 76 people are employed, was immediately called by the shocked transport manager who can be seen on the CCTV footage holding his head in disbelief.
A total of 10 fire crews attended, as well as the air ambulance which arrived as a precaution, but fortunately no-one was trapped.
The building which collapsed was in the process of being finished but there were no workers on site at the time. It was thought there were no doors on the property when the gust brought it down.
It is not owned by Bako Northern and is on an adjoining site. A series of people came to take in the sight of the 15 smashed cars, one of which still had its hazard lights flashing.
Mr Kelly said:
'We have to thank our lucky stars it happened when it did, when we were at our quietest. When we saw the CCTV afterwards, it looked like a building brought down by a controlled explosion.'