[from Hackney Gazette]
WALLS COME TUMBLING DOWN
13 June 2008
|Fearing the worst – from left to right, Marcio Pereira, holding Niki, three, Luisa Pereira, with Gianni, three months, and Patricia Rocha|
A SEVEN-months pregnant woman faced the prospect of climbing into a builders’ skip this week to salvage personal belongings from the wreck of a house collapse which has left her and other flat dwellers homeless.
Because of safety fears, no one has been allowed back into the three-storey house in Gloucester Drive, Finsbury Park to recover possessions, since the emergency evacuation of three flats occupied by an 80-year-old man, mum-to-be Patricia Rocha and a family with two children.
Builders employed by the private owner to excavate beneath the house to create a three-bedroom basement flat are thought to have weakened the foundations and the building is now being demolished.
Work began last week to pull the house down brick by brick, using two cranes, and Miss Rocha, 34, and Luisa Pereira, 36, looked on in horror as they saw top-floor tenant Frank Martin’s possessions being dumped into a skip – fearing the same fate awaits the contents of their own homes.
Miss Rocha said: “Frank’s granddaughter came to salvage his things and the workmen told her she could get in the skip to find what she wanted.
“I think that’s what’s going to happen to all of us. How am I going to get inside a skip?” lamented the seven-and-a-half month pregnant woman.
Mrs Pereira, mother of three-year-old Niki and three-month-old Gianni, who is currently sleeping in a suitcase, said: “My heart is breaking. I have nothing,” as she waited next to the demolition site in the hope of salvaging her belongings.
Despite repeated attempts to contact the owner, he was unavailable for comment.