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Balconies crash down onto car in the middle of Christmas party

Collapsed balconies in Hove <i>(Image: Sussex News and Pictures)</i>
Collapsed balconies in Hove (Image: Sussex News and Pictures)

 

A woman's car was crushed after two balconies collapsed at a block of flats.

The disaster unfolded at around 1pm on Saturday when the first and second floor balconies at Prince of Wales Court in Hove detached from the building and plummeted to the ground.

Residents said it sounded “like a truck crash” when the structures fell to the ground and crushed a car.

Upstairs neighbour Jenny Burrow was celebrating an early Christmas with her family who had travelled down from Leeds. She said the walls of her flat shook from a “huge rumble” coming from below.

She added: “It sounded like a car crash or something. We were just sitting in the living room when there was this huge rumble and crashing sound.

“I went out onto the balcony to have a look and saw the two balconies on the ground - and got off it as fast as possible.

“Nobody was out there, thankfully, or in the car. The fire brigade told us not to go out on the balconies. There’s a risk our balcony could fall.”

A car parked in the building's car park was crushed by the rubble. Pieces of falling brickwork smashed the rear window.

The Argus: The collapsed balconies in Hove
The Argus: The collapsed balconies in Hove

Notices were posted to the front doors of each flat reading “Do not go on to balcony! Deemed unsafe due to two balcony collapses.”

Unlucky pensioner Usha Patel, who has lived in the block for over 20 years, was shocked to discover her silver Nissan Juke trapped under the rubble.

More South and South East stories - click above
More South and South East stories - click above

She said: "I was talking on the phone when there was this really loud noise, so I opened my balcony door to find out what it was and there were two people shouting at me to get back inside.


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"I went downstairs and found it had fell onto my car. The car next to mine doesn't have a scratch or anything. I can manage though, it is what it is.”

Teacher Jack Voss said he did not notice the disaster despite the loud crash.

The 30-year-old who lives in neighbouring Langdale Court said: "I thought it was a truck crash or something, but I didn't think anything of it.

"I then went into the kitchen and started making a coffee before I noticed the two balconies opposite me were missing."

A spokesman for East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: "Two solid brick structures collapsed onto a car. No one was hurt and the incident has been referred over to the building maintenance.”