An investigation has started today (Thursday) into an incident at Brean Pontins that occurred on Wednesday evening in which a heating duct crashed to the ground, leaving 18 people requiring treatment from ambulance crews.
Sedgemoor District Council has begun the “complex” investigation and spokeswoman Claire Faun told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Sedgemoor District Council are the enforcement and investigating authority for this premises, even though it is not an SDC owned building.”
”We had Environmental Health (Health and Safety) officers at the site today. The room measures approximately 50m x 100m and has a bar area/dance floor. A heating and air-con duct which had been boxed in and attached to the wall gave way. The ceiling has not collapsed.”
“The investigation is likely to be complex and run for several months. Officers from Somerset Building Control Partnership are also on site.”
Eyewitnesses have described the frightening scene inside the Brean Sands holiday park on Wednesday evening following the incident.
Emergency services were called to just before 6.30pm after initial reports that a ceiling or wall had fallen inside the park’s ‘Fun Factory’ entertainment area.
South Western Ambulance Service said 18 patients were identified, with six needing to taken to hospital for a check-up or further treatment, and the remaining 12 patients being treated and discharged at the scene.
Laura Robinson, whose family of five children are staying at the site, said that about 100 people were inside the building at the time of the collapse.
She said: “We were in the family clubhouse… suddenly part of the roof came down halfway across the room, all across tables and people.”
Another woman said: “If I wouldn’t have moved a big slab of concrete would have landed on my head. It landed right by my feet.”
Ex-new Zealand cricketer Iain O’Brien said on Twitter that he’d returned to the holiday park after a day-out to find “a major panic site”. He added: “Serious amount of emergency services here. Staff very shaken and look like they could do with a hug or two.”
Kelly Mansell was sat just yards from the scene. “It happened right behind me. It looked to be about 25 metres in total. My daughter saw it first, as she was sat a bit closer. She was screaming. It all came down in one go, a whole long line of it.”
“People were helping the elderly out – it was chaos. I’ve got four-year-old twins and a 10-year-old, so I got them out as quickly as possible.”
A South Western Ambulance Service spokesman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “As part of a multi-agency response to this incident, we sent a number of resources to the scene of the incident, including our Hazardous Area Response Team (HART), two critical care teams, six ambulances and three officers.”
“Eighteen patients were identified, with six needing to taken to the nearby hospital Emergency Department for a check-up or further treatment. The remaining 12 patients were treated and discharged at scene.”
A Police spokesman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “Shortly before 6.30pm this evening we were called to Brean Sands Holiday Park following reports a ceiling had collapsed inside a building. A number of people suffered minor injuries in the incident but thankfully no one was seriously hurt.”
Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service told Burnham-On-Sea.com in a statement: “The incident involved the collapse of approximately 40m of structural ducting and ceiling sections, exposing live damaged electrics and making the scene unstable.”
“Fire crews used eight high-pressure airbags and small tools to establish that no persons were trapped beneath the collapse.”
The air ambulance is pictured above leaving the scene of the incident.
A Health and Safety Executive (HSE) spokesman told Burnham-On-Sea.com: “HSE has informed the police that this is a local authority enforced premises and therefore for the police and local authority to determine who will ultimately investigate.”