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Parents’ horror as ceiling collapses on 10-week-old baby daughter during roof repairs

PUBLISHED: 13:53 18 October 2020 | UPDATED: 14:13 18 October 2020

Isabella High after part of a ceiling collapsed on top of her at 10 weeks old. PHOTO: Holly Williams-High

Isabella High after part of a ceiling collapsed on top of her at 10 weeks old. PHOTO: Holly Williams-High

Archant

A 10-week-old baby girl is “lucky to be alive” after part of a ceiling collapsed on top of her at home, her father says after uncovering her from the rubble.

Sam High and wife Holly Williams-High. PHOTO: Holly Williams-HighSam High and wife Holly Williams-High. PHOTO: Holly Williams-High

Sam High and wife Holly Williams-High have been reluctant to return to their council-owned Park Road flat in Lowestoft following the “horrendous” incident which occurred while a leak was being fixed on the roof.

Isabella, now 12 weeks old, spent the night in hospital with a bump on her head and a cut on her nose, but now appears to have recovered from the incident, which took place on Monday, October 5.

The couple reported a leak earlier this summer, with Mr High claiming repairs were delayed due to bad weather.

Mr High said: “It was horrendous and we were so lucky it wasn’t more serious because it could have killed her if a roof tile had come down on her.

Part of the ceiling collapsed at the couple's Park Road flat in Lowestoft. PHOTO: Holly Williams-HighPart of the ceiling collapsed at the couple's Park Road flat in Lowestoft. PHOTO: Holly Williams-High

“They did an inspection in the loft and said it was safe for us to stay in at the time until some workers from the council came to repair the roof.

“While they were up there one of the workers slipped or fell and put his foot through the roof and some tiles came crashing through the ceiling and our daughter was underneath where it all came down.

“She was not even 11 weeks old and she was struck by a piece of falling plasterboard.

“I had to uncover her from the rubble that was on top of her and pull some plasterboard out of her mouth.

The family were sent flowers and a box of chocolates as a The family were sent flowers and a box of chocolates as a "gesture of goodwill" from East Suffolk Council following the accident. PHOTO: Holly Williams-High

“We called 999 and a paramedic turned up and we went to hospital for her to be checked over and she spent the night there.

“She had a bump on her head and a cut on her nose but thankfully she seems to be fine.”

Mr High claims he has been suffering from flashbacks following the incident, but has criticised the council for their response to the accident.

He said: “Ever since then the council have been a nightmare to work with and they haven’t given any thought to our emotional wellbeing.

Part of the ceiling collapsed at the couple's Park Road flat in Lowestoft. PHOTO: Holly Williams-HighPart of the ceiling collapsed at the couple's Park Road flat in Lowestoft. PHOTO: Holly Williams-High

“I keep having flashbacks to the moment I pulled the plasterboard out of her mouth.

“The only compensation we have been offered is a bouquet of cheap flowers from Morrisons and a box of Cadbury’s Milk Tray.

“We haven’t been able to live there since because of the negative attachment and also because it is only a one-bedroom property with most of the furniture now in the kitchen while they are doing repairs.

“We are on the waiting list to be moved to a two-bedroom house now but if we were to try and get somewhere now we wouldn’t get a say in where that would be and we could be moved to Ipswich or Chelmsford.”

Both parents, who have been staying with relatives while repairs are ongoing, work as carers, with Mr High based in Great Yarmouth and Mrs Williams-High set to return to work in Lowestoft following her maternity leave.

A spokesperson for East Suffolk Council said they understood the family’s concerns.

They said: “Following a reported leak as a result of poor recent weather, an accident occurred during work to fix roof tiles on the property which saw an operative slip and suffer an injury.

“The incident also saw some plasterboard fall in to the living area of the property and, although it was a total accident, we entirely understand why they were upset and concerned.

“This matter was placed at the top of our priority list and emergency repairs were carried out immediately to ensure that the property was entirely habitable.

“The property is now completely secure and safe to live in, with the plastering work to be completed shortly.

“We accept they have expressed concerns and we did offer to move them to temporary accommodation which they turned down.

“Unfortunately we do not have other properties which we could move them in to straight away.

“The flowers and chocolates were given to them, as a simple gesture of goodwill, on behalf of the operatives who have been working on the repairs and who were genuinely concerned about what had happened.

“Meanwhile, we are supporting them in their bid for a larger property with Gateway for Homechoice and we are working hard on their behalf.”


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