‘It was lucky no-one was inside the shop...they could have been killed’

Shocking scene: Firefighters said it was down to pure luck that no one was seriously injured or killed in the crash
Shocking scene: Firefighters said it was down to pure luck that no one was seriously injured or killed in the crash
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This was the scene after a 10-tonne lorry ploughed into the front of a row of shops just minutes before they opened their doors.

One of the firefighters called to the scene today said it was a “miracle” no-one was killed or seriously injured in the devastation.

St Annes Fire Station manager Paul Briggs said it was only luck which stopped anyone from being harmed after the Jewson lorry collided with two cars and then careered into a kitchen and bathroom shop at the junction of Singleton Avenue and Shepherd Road in St Annes on Saturday morning around 9am.

Two cars, a black Vauxhall Astra and a silver Ford Focus, were damaged in the incident, while the showroom for Perfect Harmony Bedrooms was left wrecked, with structural damage caused to surrounding properties after the heavy goods vehicle left the road.

Mr Briggs, site manager for Lancashire Fire and Rescue said: “It is a miracle no-one has been killed.

“When you seen the impact with which the wagon has hit the shop, no-one would have stood a chance.

“You have a hairdressers, a dental practice nearby – it was very lucky the residents were not seriously injured. The only reason they weren’t was because it was early in the morning.

“If there had been people working in the shops they could have been seriously hurt.”

Police, fire and ambulance crews were called to the crash scene to find the truck embedded in the front of the Perfect Harmony shop.

The doorway to an office above the kitchen and bedroom shop was blocked, while an 83-year-old woman had to be rescued from her home next-door by firefighters. Fire crews had to remove debris to help her escape from the front entrance of the home.

Nobody was injured and police are now appealing for witnesses in a bid to discover what caused the crash.

Today the owners of the kitchen shop, Rod McKinnon and Mark Jennings, said they were trying to stay optimistic despite the incident, admitting the health of those involved in the collision was more important.

Mr McKinnon, 71, said: “We normally open around 10am – it was lucky no-one was inside any earlier.

“We actually sit near the front window, the point where the collision and the main impact was.

“Our main concern was that the people involved were not seriously injured. Had it not been a weekend it could have been a different tale.”

Mr Jennings, 54, added: “We quite often have customers coming early on a Saturday to have a look at displays - again it is very fortunate no-one was about at the time.

“We have good insurance and we will continue to trade. We will just advise people not to visit the show room for a while.”

Neil Austin, who owns Hilton Charles, an energy consultancy firm above the damaged showroom, said he was also trying to stay positive about the situation.

He added: “We have been here since 1996 and never had anything like it before.

“My main concern is the structural damage – I don’t know if we will be able to open on Monday. We’ll have to find other ways for the time being.”

Station manager Briggs said both the female driver of the black Vauxhall Astra and the male wagon driver were shaken but not significantly injured and were taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital for a check-up.

The silver Ford Focus was parked near the showroom and taken away by road recovery teams.

Station manager Briggs added Fylde Council and a building contractor had attended to make the area safe and would sure-up the building before the wagon could be removed.

A sniffer dog team from Merseyside Fire and Rescue also attended the scene to help with the search, after fire crews expressed fears someone might have been dragged under the lorry into the property, or in case there was anyone inside the showroom.

Neighbours today said low sun light down Shepherd Road was a constant problem which caused drivers to miss give way signs.

One resident, who did not wish to be named said: “I heard it – the sound of the wagon at speed and then a thump-thump a loud bang-bang and then this almighty crash.

“The wagon driver was travelling down Shepherd Road.

“We think it has caught the front of a car going across Singleton Avenue, tried to avoid it but then driven into another car, a silver Ford Focus, before crashing into the building.

“The driver was OK. It was extremely lucky no-one was killed.

“We have a lot of pensioners around here - – we’re always saying the traffic needs to be slowed down.”

Another neighbour added: “It is lucky no-one was killed.

“I went to the paper shop this morning to get the lottery. I went to get my car washed and came back and all this had happened.”

A spokesman for Jewson said: “This was a serious incident and we are pleased that as far as we are aware no one was seriously hurt, although it was very distressing for anyone involved.

“We are co-operating fully with the police investigation into the accident and have no further details at the moment.”

Insp Jonathan Smith, of Blackpool Police said: “There was a road traffic collision, where a truck has struck a building.

“Luckily no-one was injured.

“The road policing department and accident investigation teams attended the incident.”