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Contractor fined after cinema collapses onto carriageway

A Liverpool contractor has been fined after a former cinema it was due to demolish collapsed onto a busy dual carriageway during rush hour.

Gaskells Demolition Services was fined £5,000 and ordered to pay costs of £3,000 after admitting breaching health and safety regulations.

The company was contracted to demolish the 1,000 seat Orion building in Thornton Cleveleys to make way for a supermarket. The building partially collapsed on the A587 on 17 June 2010.

The collapse blocked the two northbound lanes of the dual carriageway and the entire width of Runneymede Avenue for several hours.

A Health and Safety Executive investigation found Gaskells had failed to take sufficient precautions such as an exclusion zone around the site.

It also failed to apply to the council for temporary road closures while the work took place.

No one was injured in the incident but one pedestrian suffered a near-miss and a car was damaged.

HSE inspector Anthony Polec said: “The risk of buildings unexpectedly collapsing is well known in the demolition industry but Gaskells failed to take adequate action to prevent lives being put in danger.

“It’s only luck that no one was seriously injured.”

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