A shop owner says she “thanks God” nobody was injured after her building collapsed during Storm Dennis.
As wind and rain battered the county last night, residents were left stunned when the gable end of a Herne Bay building crumbled away – crushing a car.
Police and ambulance crews rushed to the scene at about 5.30pm yesterday, along with three fire engines and a “technical rescue unit”, after reports of the partial collapse.
The building, located in Canterbury Road beside Tesco, comprises upstairs flats as well as a sandwich bar on its ground floor.
Shocking images show a gaping hole in the front section of the building, after bricks tumbled onto vehicles parked below.
But miraculously, nobody is thought to have been injured.
The fire service helped to make the scene safe and residents have been evacuated, with the city council’s on-duty housing officer helping to temporarily house a number of people.
A woman who lives in the fourth-storey flat with her mum says they are “safe” but “shocked”.
“We are so blessed to have not been in the building when it fell down and that no one got hurt. That’s the main thing – that no-one has been seriously injured,” she added.
She thanked a fireman who saved their beloved cat from the building, and people at the scene who provided support.
“Everyone please look after yourselves and keep your loved ones close to you,” she added. “We are lucky to be alive, and many other people who were in the building and outside Tesco.
“It could have ended so differently if we were inside when it collapsed.”
Kingsley Store Sandwich and Snack Bar, located on the ground floor of the building, has been closed today, as has Tesco.
Sandwich bar owner Liz Kingsley says she does not know when her business will reopen.
“We are yet to know the extent of the damage,” she said.
“We are relieved that no one was hurt. It could have easily gone horribly wrong in so many ways, especially with the storm, so we thank God.
“We appreciate the concern that has been shown by neighbours and passersby. It’s clear that Herne Bay is a tight-knit community and we’re grateful to be a part of it.
“All things being equal, we hope to continue operations making fresh sandwiches, pastries, curried rice, salad and soup available to people.”
A Tesco spokesman added: “Our Tesco Express in Canterbury Road, Herne Bay has unfortunately been impacted by the recent adverse weather.
“The store will remain closed today while we work with authorities to ensure the store is safe for colleagues and customers. We’re sorry for any inconvenience.”