WORKERS escaped injury when gales tore a newly-installed roof off a building in a busy industrial estate, crushing 15 vehicles.
One man said the damage caused to the vehicles was “as if someone had dropped a JCB on top of them”.
The remnants of Hurricane Katia lashed Britain yesterday, causing very high winds across the country.
As gales swept the region, the entire roof flew off a building under construction at the Littleburn Industrial Estate, Langley Moor, four miles west of Durham, and smashed on to parked cars at the neighbouring Bako Northern site.
At first there were fears that people could be trapped in the rubble and four fire crews raced to the scene yesterday morning.
Steve Wharton, group manager for Durham and Darlington Fire and Rescue service said: “We got a call just after 9.30 to say a roof had fallen on cars at the Littleburn Industrial Estate.
“The wind lifted the pitched roof from the building under construction. It picked up and landed on 15 cars, which we believe belong to Bako staff. The construction site and the Bako site are about 10ft away from each other.
“Five routine fire appliances and a specialist appliance were called to the scene.”
A controlled demolition of the two ends of the building was due to take place as the structure was deemed unsafe in the high winds.
Sean Kelly, operations manager for catering firm Bako Northern, said: “Saying that a roof was blown off is probably an understatement.