‘Miracle nobody killed’ as building collapses on street

FIRE BRIGADE officers say it was a miracle nobody was killed or seriously injured when a three-storey building collapsed onto a busy street in Cork city centre.

Two construction workers who had been working on renovating the building had to flee for their lives yesterday afternoon when part of it started to }collapse internally.

A short time later, at around 4pm, masonry started to crash out on to Castle Street as shoppers and school children were walking by.

Miraculously, just one person received what was described as a very minor injury and was treated at the scene by paramedics.

James Cotter, a security man at the nearby Castle Jewellers, heard the masonry crashing to the ground and saw a cloud of smoke envelop the street.

“I immediately called the emergency service and was still on to them when the first garda arrived at the scene,” he said.

“I thought somebody was in the building, it’s very fortunate nobody was killed. It could have been much worse.”

Gardaí quickly sealed off the street which connects Cornmarket Street and North Main Street and they evacuated local businesses.

Hamid Soltani, 31, had parked his car outside the building. It had not been damaged in the initial collapse and he asked gardaí if he could move it. They told him it was too dangerous. Fortunately for Mr Soltani, he did what he was told. A few minutes later the whole front of the building collapsed on to the street burying most of his 00-registered Peugeot 206 under the rubble.

Wendy Murphy, who owns the Baby Boutique, said the dust cloud reminded her of a mini 9/11 when the Twin Towers collapsed in New York.

As fire brigade crews assessed damage, officials from utility companies turned off gas, electricity and water mains.

Garda spokesman Inspector Pat Lehane said the area would remain cordoned off until all safety work had been completed.

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