A man told of his shock after an old mill crashed down into a main road seconds after he passed by.
Wasim Bashir, 27, said that had the building collapsed a second earlier he could have been killed.
Wasim was a passenger in a friend’s car on Bradford Road, Dewsbury, at around 10pm last night.
They were heading into Dewsbury when suddenly they heard what they described as thunder and seconds later tons of stone, rubble and masonry smashed into the road.
Wasim, of Savile Town, said: “We just missed it by a second. We pulled over and couldn’t believe it. We were in shock. We could have been killed.”
The two friends immediately phoned the police and the road was closed.
The drama happened in freezing, snowy conditions on what would normally be a busy road on a Saturday night.
The road leads to Batley’s so-called Golden Mile, home to the Frontier Club and popular Legends nightspots.
The derelict two-storey stone building is opposite the Lidl supermarket, near the railway viaduct.
Police shut the road in both directions between the A638 Dewsbury ring road junction and the Commercial Road junction and it is understood the Leeds-bound railway line nearby was also closed for a time because of safety fears.
It is thought the road will be closed for most of today.
The building – thought to have been used by the local Chamber of Commerce some years ago – has had scaffolding up for several years.
Reports say the roof of the building collapsed, bringing down part of the front wall.
Several tons of masonry crashed into the road.
Dewsbury-based photo-journalist Ash Milnes, who has been to the scene, said: “It’s only by the grace of God that no-one was killed.
“Fortunately the weather was pretty bad so the road wasn’t as busy as it would usually be at that time on a Saturday night.
“You’d usually see taxis going up and down and people going to the takeaways. It could have been carnage.”
Ash added: “It seems like the roof has collapsed and all the scaffolding has just buckled, bent and twisted.
“Seeing it in the cold light of day it’s a terrible mess.”
It is understood the building is privately-owned and the owner is speaking to his insurers.
It is thought the internal structure of the building gave way and it collapsed in on itself.
Freelance photographer Mike Clark, who also went to the scene, said: “It’s unlikely to have been the weight of the snow because there’s wasn’t that much of it.
“The front of the building has fallen in, just like peeling a piece of paper off the wall.
“It’s a good job it was snowing and that kept people in. Otherwise there would have been a tragedy.”
Fire officers said part of the roof had collapsed, which led to some of the front of the building falling into the road, leaving scaffolding strewn across a large area.
The building, which is thought to be an old mill, has a plaque on the outside which says it was rebuilt in 1866.