Structural engineers are investigating after the front of a house in East Sussex collapsed into the road.
The front of the house fell away but the occupants were uninjured
Several people escaped uninjured when the two-storey facade in Caves Road, St Leonards fell on Thursday evening.
Polishman Alex Androvich said he and two friends were inside the building when it began rumbling and collapsed.
Neighbouring homes were evacuated after the incident but residents were allowed home on Thursday night. Caves Road remained closed on Friday.
The property was a shop with a flats above. Local people said up to 20 east Europeans lived there.
Structural engineer Roger Bunney, who was inspecting the building, said a beam at the front had dropped after brickwork supporting it failed.
"The situation was balanced on a knife-edge," he said.
Electricians and scaffolders have now made the building safe but a section of the upper floor overhanging the shop will have to be demolished.
Emergency services were called by neighbours who heard the brickwork collapse.
"I heard an almighty crash and we thought there had been an accident on the busy road nearby," said one.
"We dived to the front window and saw the cloud of smoke with the bricks coming down.
"It was so quiet and then bang, everything went."
More than 30 firefighters attended the incident, and a Red Cross Fire Victim Support Unit was called to help victims who needed food, clothing and accommodation.