RESIDENTS have spoken of the terrifying moments part of the roof of a block of flats collapsed and crushed a car parked outside.
The dramatic incident in Leigh town centre happened at around 7.45pm on Tuesday during high winds.
Falling bricks and stones from the front of Alexandra Court, on Wilkinson Street, destroyed a black BMW and forced residents from all 14 flats to leave their homes.
Building experts say half the two-storey building is now unsafe, with residents in the worst-affected parts of the building having to stay with family or friends until alternative places for them to live are found.
Residents today told of the shocking moments when the roof came down, with one occupant even saying there was a smaller incident with stone falling inside the building around an hour before the collapse.
Stacey Hedley, who shared one of the worst-affected flats with her boyfriend Kieran Love, said: “Earlier on there was a big bang which sounded like rocks coming down inside the hallway. A neighbour cleared it up. That was probably about 6.30pm.
“Then we heard a noise again so we went to the door. While we were in the hallway there was an even bigger bang, so I went to the window to look out and saw the front of the building had fallen off and squashed a car.
“Our flat is attached to the bit where it happened so we’ve no chance of getting back in. We’ve now just got to wait for the landlord.
“It’s just a nightmare, everything is in there.”
Kieran, 22, told how he saw bricks and stones falling outside the flat window and rubble was also left in a pile outside the property’s door.
Fellow Alexandra Court resident Bryan Jackson, 64, said: “I was just sitting down to watch the football when I heard the noise and felt part of the roof lift and come down. I came rushing out and all that brick was in the street.
“It’s a terrible mess. This morning in daylight is the first time I’ve properly seen it and it’s really bad, I’m shocked.”
Jason Mitchell, who was alerted to the drama by his young daughter, said: “My little girl heard it, at first I just thought it was thunder. There was an almighty bang so I looked out of the window and then we were told to evacuate.
“I feel sorry for the car owner but he just came out of the building, looked at it and walked off. I would go mad if it was mine.
“It’s the gable end which has basically given way. I’m just glad no-one was walking past.”
Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said no-one was injured by the collapse. Police put a cordon in place around the building and Wilkinson Street was shut to traffic on Wednesday.