WORKERS at a Midlands estate agents were evacuated from their offices when flats above the property collapsed for the second time this year.
Search and rescue teams spent more than six hours searching for casualties at Bairstow Eves estate agents on West Bromwich High Street after a wall and scaffolding fell at 11.30am yesterday.
Sniffer dogs from Leicestershire Fire Brigade’s search and rescue team were called in and listening devices used to detect life among the tonnes of rubble.
But the building was declared safe, with no casualties, after extensive searches turned up no signs of human life among the building’s remains.
Today, insurance investigators began hunting for clues to explain why the building caved for the second time in five months. On June 4, 47-year-old builder Lakhvir Singh, died when the roof of the second storey flat fell in on him. He had been removing two chimney breasts in the flat, where he lived with five others, but the work caused the roof to fall in on him, an inquest heard.
It emerged the work was carried out without planning permission and debris fell into Bairstow Eves estate agents below.
The Health and Safety Executive are deciding if they need to investigate.
The two properties either side of the estate agents were immediately evacuated yesterday and the High Street closed between Carters Green island and Dartmouth Street until the early evening.
Sarah Warnes, station commander at Ladywood Fire Station, said: “We received a call at 11.45am saying that a building had collapsed on West Bromwich High Street.”