WITNESSES who saw a three-storey building collapse in Wrexham town centre said it was a miracle nobody was buried in the rubble.
The derelict building came down shortly before 5pm yesterday at Pen y Bryn.
Debris was scattered across the road as the front of building, which was due to be demolished in the coming weeks, came crumbling down.
People living close by who saw the scene of destruction said it reminded them of bombing scenes from a war film.
Rubble cascaded across the street, taking down a street light, and dust filled the air in the surrounding area.
Eddie Haftavani, who runs nearby Eddie’s Chippy, watched footage caught by his shop’s CCTV camera of the shocking moment of the collapse.
He said two walkers were heading in the direction of the building, about 100 metres away, when it came down and a car had only just driven past on the street outside
“The next minute the top part of the building came down first and then everything just followed,” he said.
The scene today
“It all happened in a couple of seconds. The way it came down reminded me of the bombings during the war.”
Mr Haftavani, who has run his business for 28 years, said the road could have been a lot busier, but for the chip shop being closed for Sunday night.
Nearby schools, a doctor’s surgery and other shops were also closed.
“Normally there are cars parked out there,” Mr Hafpavani added.
“It would have just buried them. It was so lucky no one was underneath it.”
The building is thought to be at least 100 years old and previously housed Wrexham Motor Supplies, before the firm relocated to Smithfield Road.
Offa councillor Alun Jenkins said planning consent had been granted for a housing development a number of years ago.
He added: “There is a lollipop lady who stands just yards from there on a crossing, which is a main one for St Mary’s School on on side and St Giles on the other. It was so lucky it was not a school day.”
PC Mick Laidlaw, who was on foot patrol at the time of the incident, said: “The building was old. It collapsed shortly before 5pm.
“Fortunately it was very quiet – normally it is a very busy street.
“There is a doctor’s surgery and a Co-op shop nearby.”
The A5152 Pen y Bryn Road was closed after the incident from the A525 Ruthin Road to the B5546 St Giles Way.
Emergency services, council staff, health and safety workers and utility company staff were all reportedly on the scene.
PC Laidlaw said work to demolish the remainder of the building would continue though the night in the hope the road could be reopened by this morning.
A North Wales Fire and Rescue Service spokesman said they were called by North Wales Police at 5pm.
A spokesman said: “A derelict building which was due for demolition has collapsed.
“The area was cordoned off while crews checked the area was safe but that the matter would be dealt with by the police and Wrexham Council Building Control.”