Storm Doris makes her mark in Haverhill town centre; accounts given

Police anfd fire officers inspect the damage after the roof covering on Heron House had blown off. Most of the covering can be seen on top of the black Astra in the picture. Picture by Steve Barton

Police anfd fire officers inspect the damage after the roof covering on Heron House had blown off. Most of the covering can be seen on top of the black Astra in the picture. Picture by Steve Barton

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Passers by on Haverhill’s High Street had a lucky escape during Storm Doris last Thursday after the roof covering for three flats was blown off.

The whole High Street was closed to all traffic for about three hours after the entire covering to the roof above numbers 65 to 67 came off.

The length of the High Street in front of 65 to 67, which sit above the Jobcentre Plus, Magic Touch Dry Cleaners and PRL Express convenience store, was also closed to pedestrians for some hours as a precautionary measure.

Two fire appliances from Haverhill and one from Clare were called after the roof damage was reported at 11.40am and the road closure was put into place.

Three occupants of the third floor flats were evacuated for more than five hours while the damage was assessed and the occupants of the ground floor businesses, were told to stay put until they were given the all-clear by the fire service to leave.

One of the flat’s occupants, who asked not to be named, said: “It (the roof) just went up in the air like a sail and it just dropped like a brick.

“It was the most horrendous noice.

“It just sounded like a jet engine. It was the most terrifying thing I’ve ever heard.”

Speaking at the scene, sector commander Dale Nunn, from Haverhill Fire Station, said: “It’s a mixture of wood, insulation and felt on top of the roof that has blown off.

“It’s a concrete slab so the structure of the roof is fine.

“Because of the wind, we are making sure no-one gets involved in any debris falling off the roof.

“It (the roof) is structurally fine. .”

A black Vauxhall Astra left in the car parking area behind the premises and some rear gardens of terraced houses in Eden Road were damaged by the fallen roof materials, but no individuals were hurt.

Sector commander Nunn added: “It’s just lucky nobody was caught underneath it.”

Ekrem Boban had only just arrived at Magic Touch, which is owned by his parents, via the rear entrance when the roof materials came off.

He said: “I walked into the back of the shop about 20 seconds before the roof actually fell.

“My mum said to me ‘maybe God’s sending you a sign’ and I said I don’t know.”

Ekrem and his dad Ercan were told they could leave via the back of their shop on foot at about 1pm and they were allowed to open it again and drive their van off from the rear car park at about 2.30pm.

Repair work began on the damaged roof the day after the incident.