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Probe continues into Wirral building collapse; Gas explosion ruled out as possible cause.

Byline: LIAM MURPHY ECHO Reporter liam.murphy@trinitymirror.com liam1971 @

A BRICK support column is believed to have failed leading to the collapse of two shops in Wirral, council investigators believe. Initial investigations have ruled out a gas explosion and structural engineers are now examining debris from the buildings on King Street in Wallasey.

The two empty terraced shops, which had been in council ownership for several years, fell down just over a week ago. A third building, on the end of the row, was demolished after fears it was unsafe.

Eight households were evacuated but Wirral council allowed residents back into their homes the following morning Investigations have continued to identify the cause of the collapse, which happened just hours after a security check of the buildings by the council.

The brick support pier identified as the possible cause runs through the building supporting the roof, upper floors and chimney.

The council says the derelict terraced houses on King Street have been "regularly checked" for safety and security since 2012, with the last security check taking place on the day of the collapse.

Kevin Adderley, Wirral's strategic director of regeneration and environment, said: "The exact cause of the collapse of the properties on King Street has not been established.

"As there were no injuries or suspicious circumstances, neither the police nor the fire service were required to carry out their own investigations, and checks by National Grid found no evidence to suggest that gas played a part.

"An initial assessment by the council's structural engineer suggests that there may have been a failure of an internal central brick support pier which was supporting the upper floors and roof along the party wall of 85 and 87 King Street. Further assessments are being made as the demolition contractor removes material from the site."

tral brick support pier which was supporting the upper floors and roof along the party wall of 85 and 87 King Street. Further assessments are being made as the demolition contractor removes material from the council bought the three properties in 2010 under the Housing Market Renewal Initiative with the hope of regenerating this part of King Street but due to the halt in funding these ambitions proved "undeliverable". Recently it had been planning to sell the " The council bought the three properties in 2010 under the Housing Market Renewal Initiative with the hope of regenerating this part of King Street but due to the halt in funding these ambitions proved "undeliverable". Recently it had been planning to sell the properties at auction

CAPTION(S):

The collapsed buildings | |on King Street in Wallasey

A crowd looks on, above, as police cordon off King Street to deal with the incident |

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Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Geographic Code:4EUUK
Date:Nov 21, 2014
Words:452
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