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'Bang, and the roof fell down'
ONE minute they were watching television, the next their home was falling apart.
It was 10.30pm on Monday, December 23 when housemates Simon Holliman, 32, and Ryan Burnby, 26, heard a loud bang at their townhouse in Northbrook Crescent, Rooksdown.
The storm had dislodged bricks from the side of the roof, which smashed onto an empty Ford Fiesta parked in a communal area.
Simon, an electrician, told The Gazette: “We were watching television and we heard this huge bang. I looked at the back of the house and couldn’t see anything. I went into the loft and noticed that the wall had disappeared and saw the house next door and saw that the car was smashed.
“We were lucky it went out and didn’t come in – now we are just sitting it out and waiting. It is the worst time of year for it to happen but we are over the worst.”
Fire crews from Basingstoke cordoned off the area and staff from Basingstoke and Deane Borough Council visited on Christmas Eve to ensure it was safe.
Simon and Ryan had to spend £1,000 to make their home weather-proof, boarding up the gap left by the damage and putting up additional tarpaulin.
The housemates, who bought the house in 2009, feared further damage could be caused on Boxing Day, when more bad weather was forecast.
But on Friday, December 27, Simon said: “The roof is still here,” adding: “Last night was a worrying time. We did as much as we could because it was supposed to be windy again.”
Neighbours rallied round following the ordeal.
Ryan, a customer service assistant at a relocation company, said: “The neighbours have been really helpful and have offered us rooms and dinner.”
Miraculously, none of their possessions were damaged, and despite the devastation, Simon insisted the drama did not spoil their Christmas celebrations.
He said: “We were going to our families anyway. It stopped the New Year’s Eve party but I am sure the neighbours were happy about that!”
The owners of the damaged Ford Fiesta, John Bell, 30, and his wife Laura, 29, were out at the time of the incident and returned to find their second car smashed.
Mrs Bell said: “We got back at about 11pm to three fire engines and as soon as we parked up on the drive, we saw it was our car.
“It was lucky that no-one was hurt but the question in my mind is whether there was a problem with the property – you don’t expect the side of a new property to fall off.”
The couple are arranging for the car to be towed away and written-off, once the bricks have been cleared.
The Fiesta was used by Mr Bell to travel to work.
Mrs Bell said: “My husband is not due to go back to work until the New Year and he works in Newbury so we will have to work something out with that.”
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