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Norwich man tells of moment ceiling collapsed

00:00 10 February 2014

Penn Grove, Norwich resident Robert Fountain in the bedroom full of buckets that has been badly damaged by a  damaged roof leaking. Photo: Steve Adams

Penn Grove, Norwich resident Robert Fountain in the bedroom full of buckets that has been badly damaged by a damaged roof leaking. Photo: Steve Adams

A Norwich father-of-three has described the moment the water-saturated ceiling in his daughters’ bedroom caved in prompting one of them to ask him if the “world was ending”.

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Penn Grove, Norwich resident Robert Fountain in the bedroom full of buckets that has been badly damaged by a  damaged roof leaking. Photo: Steve AdamsPenn Grove, Norwich resident Robert Fountain in the bedroom full of buckets that has been badly damaged by a damaged roof leaking. Photo: Steve Adams

Bucketfuls of water – and grey asbestos in artex in the ceiling –plunged into the bedroom where Robert Fountain’s daughters Keely, 15, and Charlotte, four, normally slept following recent heavy rainfall.

Mr Fountain, 36, spent hours frantically emptying buckets of water that got into his Penn Grove home in the north of the city through the gaping hole which opened up at about midnight on Friday after water poured in through a layer of felt when part of the roof had been left exposed by contractors who had been carrying out work on the council-owned property.

He said: “I was just watching and waiting for it to happen. There was nothing you could do. The whole ceiling just fell away and there was water everywhere. I just had to stand and watch.”

Fortunately no-one was in the bedroom at the time because the rest of the family, including partner Sylvia and son Robert, 10, had been kept downstairs by Mr Fountain,
who feared what might happen
after initially discovering water seeping into the house on Friday morning.

But while no-one has been hurt, the ceiling collapse has had a “devastating” effect on the family, who spent Saturday and last night in B&B accommodation organised by the city council.

Mr Fountain, a taxi driver, who was hoping to discuss his situation with the council and contractors today, said: “It’s been a nightmare – an absolute nightmare. My little one was scared because she didn’t
know what was going on. She thought the world was ending because the roof caved in. She’s worried
about her little dolls and her little bed.”

Mr Fountain said work was being carried out by city council contractors to fit new windows in the house as part of which the fascias were also looked at although the flat roof was not battened down again after the work which left it exposed and resulted in water getting in from last Thursday night.

Bert Bremner, cabinet member for housing at Norwich City Council, said he felt for the family and would “pull out all the stops to put things back to rights”.

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