Page last updated at 19:48 GMT, Wednesday, 1 July 2009 20:48 UK

Bridge collapse during heavy rain


Heavy rain causes bridge collapse

A builder had a lucky escape after part of a bridge collapsed on to a house in County Durham during heavy rain.

Flood water washed masonry from an old railway bridge under the A68 in Rowley, near Castleside, on to the Old Station house on Wednesday afternoon.

The sole occupant had to escape through an upstairs window, as bricks crashed into the ground floor.

The A68 was initially closed but the northbound carriageway was opened later and a contraflow system set up.

Weather conditions at the time were described by a police spokesman as "unbelievable".

'Slow motion'

The old railway bridge under the road had been bricked up, but some of the masonry was dislodged by flood water.

Builder Maurice Ramsden was doing some work in the house, while the owners were away on holiday.

He said: "All of a sudden water came down the driveway and I noticed it was getting towards the level of the back door, so I started to brush it away.

"Then I noticed a big crack had appeared in the brick wall [of the bridge] in front of me, and the wall seemed to come down in slow motion.

"I ran into the house as fast as I could and dashed upstairs as the downstairs flooded out.

"I had to get out to the upstairs window and called the fire brigade, they came in five minutes and I was very pleased to see them."

Mr Ramsden, who was left soaking wet, but unhurt, added: "That's the end of that job for the day."

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