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'It was chaos' - woman injured as ceiling of Finchley pub the Joiners Arms collapses
Drinkers were left covered in rubble and dust when part of a pub’s ceiling collapsed, scattering debris and injuring customers.
Around 35 people had to be evacuated from The Joiners Arms, in Ballards Lane, Finchley, after a four foot slab of the ceiling crumbled to the ground just before closing time at 1.30am.
Ambulance crews and firefighters arrived to seal off the area and treat two injured customers.
Paula Leon, of Singleton Scarp, Woodside Park, had been celebrating good news with around 25 family and friends when the collapse happened.
Wood fell directly on top of the 50-year-old’s head and she was left nursing injuries to her arm, leg and back.
She told the Times Series: “I heard a crash but didn’t realise what happened until moments later because I was in shock. It threw me to the ground, I was in a daze.
“I thought someone had come crashing through the window and a body was on top of me, but it took me a while to realise I was covered in wood.
“Once I lifted myself out of the rubble, I realised the scene was chaos. Everyone was panicking and security were shouting at everybody. I saw shattered pieces of wood and I knew I had to get out.”
Project manager Mrs Leon was taken to hospital along with her sister-in-law, Miranda Leon, but neither were left with lasting injuries.
However, she says the incident raises serious concerns and believes it could have been avoided with better safety checks.
The collapse happened exactly one year to the day after the pub, managed by Stonegate, held a party to celebrate its £140,000 facelift.
Mrs Leon added: “I am still shaken up from it. My arm is healing but it’s taking a while for me to process what happened. I was definitely scared and didn’t know what was going on.
“I don’t know how something like this was allowed to happen, we were lucky but it could have been far more dangerous.”
A statement from Stonegate, which manages the pub, said: “The safety of our customers and staff is an absolute priority for us. An assessment was made of the ceiling the following morning by our contractors and it was deemed safe.
“As a precaution, the area has been cordoned off and repair work will be carried out this week. We apologise to the two customers involved and have made private contact with them with regards the matter.”
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