7,000 copies force ceiling's collapse

An Essex pensioner has spent 11 hours pinned to his bed after his ceiling collapsed under the weight of 7,000 yachting books.

Richard Phillips, 77, had stored 150 boxes of Traditional Sail – A Panorama of Heritage in his loft and firefighters found him buried under them but unhurt, after he was discovered by his next-door neighbour in Goldhanger, near the River Blackwater.

Firefighters believe the ceiling collapsed under the weight of the books which had been stored there for ten years.

The neighbour, Tony Piercy, said: ‘He was almost crushed to death. He was lucky, if one of the ceiling beams landed on his head he could have died.

‘I went into his home, just to check on things because his carer had not heard from him.

‘When I got to his room I called out and he just said “I’m stuck”, so I tried to open the door but it was jammed pretty tight and he just kept shouting “I can’t move, I can’t move”.’

Ian Smith from Essex Fire Service said: ‘Firefighters formed a chain to remove the boxes from the man as quickly as possible.

‘A paramedic then assessed the gentleman and he was placed in the care of the ambulance service.’

Image: Creative Commons/Toby Hudson