Lucky escape after bid to knock down shelter goes wrong

RESCUE Firefighters at the scene where the roof of the air raid shelter collapsed
RESCUE Firefighters at the scene where the roof of the air raid shelter collapsed
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A MAN was injured and trapped as he tried to demolish an air raid shelter in his back garden.

Steven McLellan, 44, suffered injuries to the right side of his body after a concrete roof fell on top of him.

He had been demolishing a brick wartime air raid shelter at his home in Park Lane, Bedhampton, on Saturday afternoon.

But suddenly the concrete roof caved in, trapping his legs and also his right arm.

Three fire engines – two from Havant and one from Cosham – plus the special equipment unit were sent at 4.45pm.

The urban search and rescue team, which is prepared for disasters such as earthquakes, was also dispatched.

Fire crews were able to free the man using hydraulic ramps.

Martyn Elliott, watch manager from Havant, said: ‘The man was demolishing an old air raid shelter.

‘He became trapped by the concrete slabs that made up the roof.

‘He was trapped by his legs, but he was conscious and talking.

‘We used hydraulic ramps, and once we moved the slabs, he was able to move himself.

‘He was treated by paramedics before being taken to the hospital.’

One ambulance from South Central Ambulance Service was sent.

A spokesman for the service said: ‘We were called shortly after 4.30pm as a roof had landed on a 48-year-old male.

‘His legs had become trapped.

‘He is thought to have sustained injuries to the right side of his body, such as his right leg and arm.

‘His injuries are not thought to be life-threatening.

‘He was taken to Southampton General Hospital.’

The fire service cordoned off the garden and advised the family not to approach the structure.

They have been advised to call in professionals to remove the rest of the building.

Mr Elliott added: ‘Our advice would be to hire professional help if you are undertaking a task like this.

‘It can be dangerous and perhaps better for professionals to do it.

Mr McLellan is still recovering in Southampton General Hospital today.

His wife Natasha, 30, said he had been using a concrete hammer drill and a sledgehammer to demolish the shelter.

She told The News: ‘He’s lucky to be alive because it could have hit his head.

‘He’s had an operation on his right ankle and his right arm is in plaster.

‘He’s got physiotherapy today. He wants to come home straight away.’