Winds wreaked havoc in East Lancashire - roundup

WINDS blasting at speeds of up to 70mph wreaked havoc in East Lancashire yesterday. The fierce storm downed trees in Blackburn and Great Harwood, tore the roof off an Accrington health centre, and collapsed a wall in Nelson.

A severe weather warning had been issued by the Met Office, which said the north west felt the full force of the stormy weather, with gusts of wind reaching 60 to 70mph.

The wind was so strong it caused people to be blown over, ambulance bosses said.

Homes in Crosshill Road, off Preston New Road, Blackburn, escaped damage when a large tree was felled just after midnight.

It came down between two homes, landing in the gardens and blocking access to the front door of one of the properties - home to a young disabled boy.

Naser Hussain, who lives with his family in the semi-detached home, was at work when the tree fell.

The 31-year-old said: “I work nights and I got a call from a friend across the road. He thought my car was underneath.”

Mr Hussain said scaffolding put up to allow renovation work to be carried out directed the tree’s branches away from the house.

He said: “If the scaffolding was not there, it would have gone right on the house.”

Firefighters from Blackburn Fire Station used saws, normally reserved for use in car accidents, to cut the tree and make a pathway for the family.

A wooden ramp was also installed, to allow Mr Hussain’s disabled son Qasim, 10, to move in and out of the house.

A section of tubular metal roof was also blown off the NHS Hyndburn Medical Centre, in Lonsdale Street, Accrington, in the early hours of yesterday.

Contractors and firefighters blocked off the road with their vehicles as another section became loose and began waving in the wind.

A fire spokesman said: “A section of roof came off and dropped down overnight, but the wind was catching the next section of the roof.

“We asked the police to come and shut the road off.”

Scott Slater, 26, lives with his 25-year-old girlfriend Kirsty Taylor, and their son Jenson, in Lonsdale Street.

He said they were woken up at around 3.30am yesterday morning by a ‘massive bang’.

He said: “It sounded like metal. They are building homes nearby and we thought it was the scaffolding, but we could not see anything until this morning.”

North West Ambulance Service took to Twitter to warn people about going outside in the gales.

A spokeswoman said the service had taken half a dozen calls in Lancashire about people being blown over by the wind, causing minor injuries.

Police were also called after dry stone wall collapsed into the road, near Blackhouse Lane in Halifax Road, Nelson at around 1.35pm yesterday afternoon.

A police spokesman said: “The caller said the wall collapsed, encroaching on the road, and that drivers might not see it because it’s on a bend.”

Elsewhere, the northbound exit slip of the M6 motorway, at Samlesbury, was partially closed after a tree fell at Brockholes Brow at around 8am.

The road reopened fully at around 9.10am.

A conifer tree was also felled by the wind in Church Street, Great Harwood while homes in Brinscall suffered a powercut.

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