Birmingham & Black Country

Sparkbrook mosque collapses during building work

Walford Road Mosque
Image caption Fire crews were called to the mosque in Walford Road on Monday night

A mosque in Birmingham was undergoing renovations when it collapsed, it has emerged.

Fire crews were called to Walford Road, Sparkbrook, at about 23:30 BST on Monday.

The committee which runs the mosque said work had been under way to replace the building's floors.

A specialist dog unit from Leicestershire was brought in to search the area for possible casualties. The all-clear was given at about 03:00 BST.

Walford Road was closed for several hours and police asked people to avoid the area.

Birmingham City Council said the immediate danger had been cleared from the site, including remnants of the roof structure and loose masonry.

Abid Shah, who lives opposite the mosque, said the sound of the collapsing roof was like "a big lorry had driven past - there was no explosion".

"I came outside and there was dust in the air and rubble was across the road," he said.

Usman Khan, part of the committee who run the mosque, said building work was under way to replace the original wooden floors with ones made from concrete and steel.

"Some of the older walls were taken out and supported by a cage of steel - in that process the roof was being supported by scaffolding [which] last night for some reason slid to one side," he said.

Image copyright Highgate Fire Station
Image caption West Midlands Fire Service said crews were at the property, trying to make the area safe

The mosque, which is used by about 60 worshippers, was already closed because of the building work, he added.

Mr Khan said the mosque will be liaising with its contractors and the city council to see when the work can start again.

Image copyright Highgate Fire Station
Image caption Specialist search teams were brought in to check for casualties

Birmingham City Council said its building control is handled by a professional services company, Acivico, who were called to the scene last night.

An Acivico spokesperson said: "A meeting is taking place with a demolition contractor to assess the immediate danger and to survey the building - remedial work to make the building safe will then commence."

West Midlands Police said the collapse was "not a police matter".

The road will remain closed while debris is cleared, a spokeswoman added.

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