Neighbours have said they thought a “bomb was going off” when a terraced house collapsed and left a gaping hole in a street where homes fetch more than £1.5 million
The two-storey house collapsed and rubble and dust cascaded into a posh north London street.
Residents living next to the boarded up property were evacuated as firefighters tried to make the property, which had been being renovated , safe again.
Builders were said to have been working on the house in West Hampstead, north London, when the collapse happened at around 11.50am this morning.
The house was left with a hole in the front, the first floor hanging down with rubble and wooden beams scattered across the ground floor.
The back garden and rear of the property is clearly visible from the street through the open walls as the first floor and front have collapsed.
A fireplace on the first floor still has a coffee cup resting on top of it, despite the floor below hanging precariously underneath.
Residents living next to the boarded up property were evacuated as firefighters tried to make the property safe.
It’s thought that no one had lived there for over five years,
A structural engineer from Camden Council has been drafted in to check the building, which was last sold for £640,000 in 2006, was safe.
Bunna Fidder, who was at home at the time heard the noise and ran into the street.
The 29-year-old teacher said: “I was just about to go out and heard this really loud noise. It was unbelievable, I thought our roof was falling in.
“I ran outside and saw the rubble and a cloud of dust that went across the road. The noise sounded like a bomb going off, it all happened so quickly.
“It was so scary, it was terrifying. It was unlike anything else I’ve ever seen before.
“The dust stayed in the air for a while and you can see the beams. The rubble came right across the road and loads of people were outside.
“It’s pretty dramatic. It’s just the most bizarre thing.
“It’s been boarded up for ages, ever since we lived here which is about two-and-a-half years, with builders working on it on and off for ages.
“Builders were working on the outside at the time.
“The Fire Brigade said it was miraculous no one was hurt.”
Her husband Tom McPail said smoke was coming from inside the house just days before the collapse.
The 30-year-old lawyer said: “Around five to four days ago I smelt smoke and could see inside through the boards inside the building there was smoke actually inside.
“We share a wall with the collapsed house and that’s pretty worrying.”
Other neighbours who also live in the adjoining building said builders had been working on the house since the end of January.
Diane McKaye, a 43-year-old publicist, said: “I was working from how and heard the noise that sounded like an earthquake and thought, ‘what have the builders done now?’
“They have been knocking the walls through, I think they were converting it to four flats. They reckoned the work was going to take about a month, which seems ridiculously short.
“No one has lived there for five years.
“I’ve seen them burning something in the garden before and there’s been lots of rats and infestations over the years.
“There’s been lots of rubbish piled up as well which is bad considering it’s supposedly militaries row.”
Another neighbour who lives two doors down said: “It’s really shocking, I was coming back from the zoo when I saw the ambulances and police.
“You can see right through to the train track.”
Despite the damage, next door neighbours were allowed to return to their homes on Monday evening.