Storm Ciara Hits Battersea George Thompson, Raynes Park High School

Whilst the rest of the country is ravaged by Storm Ciara, London, as always, is left relatively unscathed. But there are always some minor local dramas when something of this magnitude hits the UK.

Yesterday morning, one of our neighbours sent our local street What’s App group, a picture of collapsing scaffolding in the next street, Rosenau Road. We went off to investigate.  For the most part, storms leave us with lots of tree fall, the odd roof tile is dislodged and temporary road signs are left scattered.

This incident is, therefore, quite dramatic but clearly not as severe as those around the country who are without power and have endured blizzards or flooding. Arriving at the scene, there is a fire engine at the far end of the road and the fire brigade have taped the street off about 40 meters from each side of the distressed building. Most of the cars which are normally parked on both sides have been cleared. 

A lone scaffolder is assessing the situation whilst several firemen look on, drinking tea and eating biscuits. “You came prepared”, I suggested to one of them. “No”, he replied. ” A neighbour brought these out. Very kind of her. We’ve been here for a few hours”.

Elsewhere the owner of the house appears. She tells me, “I once saw something like this in the storms of 1987, I never expected it to happen here, to me”. Her builder is also there.

He is a bit more reflective and calm. As we chat, he points out, “You can have accidents and problems like this on a Monday but not Friday”. He knows that this will slow him down considerably tomorrow when his team gets back to work.

Both of them go back to their mobile phones to let others know what’s happening. A couple arrives with their young boy. They had been away in the New Forest for the weekend.

They travelled home in the night to get away from the storm. Another local resident from 4 doors down appears to rescue his car. He told me that he heard nothing when the scaffolding gave way.

The scaffolder calls the firemen over and they decide it’s time to take action. Luckily, as the scaffolding came away from the front of the house it wedged itself against a telegraph pole and the conveyor that extends out of the basement of the property. If it had fallen, there would have been real damage to cars on both sides of the street.

They can’t climb the structure to dismantle it. They want a controlled collapse to make things safe.  A rope is attached and everyone pulls but the scaffolding is too stubborn.

It waves defiantly in the wind. More scaffolders arrive in a truck and this is used to apply more force. The tower gives way, but not completely.

At least they can now climb into its body and disassemble it.

Storm Ciara Hits Battersea George Thompson, Raynes Park High School

It’s all very dangerous and in these circumstances there are no rules except to get it down before it does more damage.

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