Campbeltown tenement residents evacuated

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By Hannah O’Hanlon and Mark Davey

A young boy narrowly escaped a potentially fatal accident when a stair high in a Main Street tenement building collapsed.

The Courier understands that the boy was on a section of stair when five concrete steps collapsed.

The steps fell onto the ceiling of the ground-floor shop below and apparently the boy was saved by a quick-thinking adult who grabbed his arm.

The boy was taken to hospital but a woman in a first floor flat was unable to leave the building. She was evacuated by Campbeltown firefighters on a ladder through her window high above the street.

The drama unfolded last Friday evening and one fire tender was tasked at 7.27pm.

Scottish Fire and Rescue Service watch commander, Ronnie Souden, said: ‘The middle five steps had fallen onto the ceiling of McKellar’s Confectionery store below.

‘A woman was trapped in her flat and it was quickly decided, for safety reasons, to evacuate the woman by ladder.’

All the tenement’s residents were evacuated from the building. Up till the Courier went to press they had been given accommodation in the Argyll Arms and Craigard hotels.

McKellar’s Confectionery shop, which employs five staff, was closed down and barriers erected on Main Street round the entrance.

Archie McKellar, who has owned the shop for 35 years, said: ‘Structural engineers have told us it could be four to five months before the building is safe.’

Mr McKellar’s daughter, Karensa Glendinning, said: ‘By coincidence we have been working to open the small shop next to our grocery store on Main Street.

‘We have accelerated that and hope to be open in three weeks.’

An Argyll and Bute Council spokesperson said: ‘As soon as we were made aware of the incident, we attended and made the area safe.

‘A structural engineer has been appointed to carry out an inspection.

‘We await the engineer’s report and the outcome of discussions with the building’s owners before a decision will be taken on the next steps.’

A police spokesperson added: ‘The incident was reported to the police at 7.30pm last Friday April 5.

‘The stair in a common close at 9A Main Street, Campbeltown, collapsed with a man and a boy on the stairs at the time suffering minor injuries.

‘All flats were evacuated and the council alerted to have the building assessed by a structural engineer.

‘Occupants of flats affected were housed in alternative accommodation.’

George Rowley told the Courier: ‘I live at Flat 3, 9 Main Street. I’ve been evacuated because the building is said to be unstable.

‘It looks like there is no support under the left side of the wall.’

The emergency services at the Main Street tenement on Friday evening. 50_c15tenement07 Photograph by Hannah O’Hanlon.

The collapsed stairs photographed by resident George Rowley. NO_c15tenement02_9A_Main_Street

Firefighters rescue a Main Street resident from the tenement. NO_c15tenement04_9A_Main_Street

The fire tender arrives in Main Street. NO_c15tenement06_9A_Main_Street

Looking through the collapsed stairs to the shop below. NO_c15tenement01_9A_Main_Street