Roads closed as debris crashes down

FIRE crews were forced to close off a large part of Ipswich as bricks and glass crashed down more than 10 storeys onto busy roads and streets.The side of the top floor of the St Vincent House building on Cutler Street collapsed after it was battered by high winds, sending clouds of dust, fragments of glass and hundreds of bricks showering down on Franciscan Way.

FIRE crews were forced to close off a large part of Ipswich as bricks and glass crashed down more than 10 storeys onto busy roads and streets.

The side of the top floor of the St Vincent House building on Cutler Street collapsed after it was battered by high winds, sending clouds of dust, fragments of glass and hundreds of bricks showering down on Franciscan Way.

Debris was scattered more than 100 metres from the building in St Nicholas Street.

Fire crews and police immediately cordoned off the surrounding area, including Franciscan Way, Cutler Street and St Peter's Street and evacuated nearby buildings.

No one was believed to be in St Vincent House at the time. The alarm was raised by a member of the public, collecting a car, who realised the building may be unstable. Emergency services were able to clear the area before any debris fell to the ground.

Assistant Divisional Officer Dave Atkinson from the fire service headquarters in Colchester Road said: "We had to ensure the safety of members of the public by closing the roads. Our main worry is waiting to hear whether the rest of the building will come down."

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A building control officer assessed the building, accompanied by police, and found the main structure was secure. Last night, it was thought the affected area – including the storey immediately below – may still be unsafe.

Police were waiting to hear detailed weather reports from the Met Office before deciding whether to reopen the roads around the area.

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