Man injured as Holborn building collapses

media captionEyewitnesses describe the scene of the collapse

A building has collapsed in central London, injuring a man.

The 56-year-old was taken to hospital with head and hip injuries after part of the building collapsed in Portugal Street, Holborn at about 16:15 BST.

About 200 people from the building site and nearby properties were evacuated from the area and hazard response teams attended the scene.

London Fire Brigade (LFB) said the building was being demolished at the time of its collapse.

image copyrightCharlie Heinz
image captionThe building collapsed at about 16:15 BST in Holborn

Station Manager John Snelgrove, who was at the scene, said: "When the first crews arrived they found the building, which was under refurbishment, had collapsed between the fifth and second floors."

About 31 firefighters attended the scene.

Eyewitness Murat Akkulak, a research co-ordinator at the Royal College of Surgeons, said the building was being demolished "layer by layer".

He said: "There was a lot of dust but I could see there was a digger down amongst the rubble and one or two builders were running around trying to get someone out of the digger.

image copyrightLFB
image captionLondon Fire Brigade took this picture from the wreckage of the building

"The operator seemed to be trapped in the digger.

"When I checked the photos I had taken I saw there were two people standing on the upper layer looking down.

"They seem to have had a really lucky escape to me, because everything else had just collapsed around them."

Jade Harrison, who works opposite, said: "There was a big crash and everyone was wondering what was going on.

"The first thing that went through everyone's head was that it was a terrorist attack. Then we saw there had been a mishap with the construction. It was so unexpected."

image copyrightMurat Akkulak
image captionMurat Akkulak took this picture from above the collapsed building

A cabbie, who only gave his name as Ed, was parked nearby and said: "It sounded like a plane to begin with, then it kept rumbling on.

"Then it sounded like a train and then there was a massive amount of dust coming round the corner from Portugal Street."

The Health and Safety Executive has been informed.

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