A former mill which suddenly collapsed, shutting a main road in Dewsbury, has been partially demolished.
Demolition crews moved in to dismantle mangled scaffolding which buckled as the roof and front wall fell in.
Masonry and debris crashed into Bradford Road, opposite the Lidl supermarket, as snow fell at 10pm on Saturday.
Passing cars were lucky to avoid being struck. Wasim Bashir, 27, told how he and a friend were fortunate not to have been killed.
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And a mum-of-two has also come forward telling the Examiner of her escape after she had stopped her car on the opposite side of the road to make a phone call.
The 40-year-old woman, who asked not to be named, told how she heard an enormous “creaking” noise and watched in horror as the building across the road started to crumple.
In panic she started her car and pulled away just as stonework and masonry crashed down in a cloud of dust.
“I can’t believe what happened,” she said. “The building just fell in front of my eyes and I was really lucky not to be underneath it. The noise and dust was horrendous.
“It could have happened any time. Cars queue past there at busy times. It’s fortunate it didn’t happen at rush hour on a Monday morning.”
The three-storey building, thought to be 150 years old, is close to the railway viaduct. It is understood the building was under renovation though work was not continuous.
Jonathan Hutchinson, a director of Ravensthorpe-based Hutchinson Demolition, said his firm – acting for the owner – brought in a 70-ton crane on Sunday and crews dismantled the scaffolding by hand to allow access.
The mill was then made safe and reduced to first floor level with all the rubble contained within the site.
Mr Hutchinson said it was now down to the owner to decide what to do next. He declined to name the owner and couldn’t say whether he was insured.
Mr Hutchinson said the scaffolding wasn’t holding the building up and he believed recent heavy rain had taken its toll.
“There were probably leaks from the roof and it’s been raining for nine or 10 weeks solid,” he said. “The water has probably been getting inside and, given the age of the building, the snow on Saturday was probably the final straw.”
The road was re-opened about 9pm on Sunday.
A spokesman for Kirklees Council said: “Our first priority in incidents like this is the safety of the public.
“In this case council officers attended the incident and worked with the owner and their contractor to ensure the building was made safe so the road could be re-opened. The owner now has responsibility for the site clearance.
“We understand that the scaffolding on site was only for access and was not there to help the stability of the building.
“At this stage we do not know what caused the building to collapse. However, the council is not responsible for reviewing the condition of private buildings, this is a matter for the premises owner.
“If we do receive reports about potentially dangerous structures, though, we do respond as quickly as possible and take up any issues with the owner.”