Bottom falls out of house

2011-08-02 00:00

THREE children miraculously escaped without any serious injuries when their bedroom caved in and collapsed through the floor of their home in the Northdale area on Sunday evening.

The children were playing in their room, which is located above a basement that is being used to store washing machines and other household items. The house is also partly used as a boarding house for children studying at area schools.

Shoddy workmanship and skimping on building material are blamed for the floor collapsing.

From the way the floor collapsed, it seemed that the builder had neglected to put in reinforcing, not only to separate the floors but also to strengthen them. The integrity of the standing structure did not seem to have been compromised.

The bedroom looked as though it had been hit by a tornado as the bedroom suite, broken computers, beds and clothes were all mixed in with the broken rubble that used to be the floor.

The owner of the house, Philip Hlela, said three weeks ago they had noticed cracks on the bedroom floor and they informed their bank which said it would send someone. He said they did not suspect that the floor would cave in.

“The children were in the bedroom playing when the floor simply caved in. Fortunately they were not seriously injured.

“Only one sustained an injury to the leg and was kept overnight in hospital for observation,” he said.

“This is very worrying because we have just learned that this part [bedroom] has no supporting structure, and we do not know which other parts of the house do not have any supporting structure because parts of this house are built above ground.

“When you buy a house and it comes complete like this, you do not expect that the builder had done shoddy work and you have no way of knowing that,” he added.

He said the Msunduzi Fire and Rescue officials who attended to the incident said an engineer should check whether the whole structure of the house was not compromised.

“This is something that I will have to take up with the previous owner and the builder of the house.”

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