Mum and four children devastated after Manchester house collapses into sinkhole

Ellen Manning

Watch: Shocking footage of two houses that collapse caused by sinkhole in Manchester

A single mum with four young children has been left devastated after her home collapsed when a sinkhole opened up in the middle of their street.

Dramatic footage shows the moment the house collapsed in Abbey Hey, east Manchester on Thursday.

It happened after a sinkhole opened up in the middle of the street the night before, swallowing a car and prompting the evacuation of four families from their homes due to serious structural damage.

An investigation is now ongoing by utilities company United Utilities who said they did not know what caused the hole to appear.

Manchester sinkhole. (Reach/MEN Media)
The house collapsed after a sinkhole appeared in the street in east Manchester. (Reach/MEN Media)

Police and fire crews attended the scene before engineers from United Utilities were called in to assess the problem.

Engineers stayed at the scene throughout the night, but at around 11am on Thursday the front of two houses collapsed as the sinkhole widened.

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In dramatic footage of the collapse, a man can be heard shouting: “S**t! Get back, get back!”

A 26-year-old mum who lives in one of the properties, who asked not to be named, now fears she has lost most of her possessions.

Manchester sinkhole. (Reach/MEN Media)
A single mum with four children has been left homeless after her house collapsed. (Reach/MEN Media)

She said: “I'm hoping some things might be salvageable but it looks like the roof will collapse. The upstairs looks like it's going to come down as well - it's got everything I own.”

She said she had been put up in temporary accommodation and friends and family had rallied round to support her.

“People are trying to donate things to help,” she said. “We went out with my son's pram and two bags of clothes for all of us.

“The kids are a bit upset, my mum's neighbour has donated a few toys.”

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Her neighbour Bernie Scanlon spoke of the moment her house started to collapse, saying: “I ran to the front window and they were like: 'Get out, get out!'

“I ran to my front door and couldn't open it because it had obviously been affected by the collapse, so I ran through the back room.

“I was going to throw a few bits in a bag but then my ceiling started to go - all the plaster started splitting off the walls and I could hear all these cracks.

“It was scary. It was a split-second decision to leave. I thought: 'If I don't get out now, I'm not getting out'.

“Within minutes, my house started to split, the masonry split, the walls separated from the window - it's going to go.”

(Reach/MEN Media)
Neighbours described the terrifying moment the houses collapsed. (Reach/MEN Media)

She added: “We've lost everything, me and my son. If we can't get back in to get a few bits, we've got nothing.”

Afzal Khan, Labour MP for Manchester Gorton, has visited the scene and is calling for an urgent investigation into what caused the sinkhole

He said: “The situation at Walmer Street is incredibly distressing, and my thoughts are with those whose properties have sustained damage or have been evacuated as a result of the sinkhole.

“I am grateful for the quick response of the emergency services to the situation, and I am hugely relieved that no one has been hurt.

“It is critical that we understand how and why this sewer collapsed, and if steps could have been taken to prevent the scale of damage we have seen. United Utilities must do more to support residents in the area.”

A United Utilities spokesperson said: “Our engineers are on site at Walmer Street with emergency services and Manchester City Council dealing with a sinkhole and the associated damage.

“The first priority is safety and the area had been evacuated so fortunately no-one was injured.

“We are working with officers from Manchester City Council to ensure that anyone who needs to be evacuated has accommodation.

“When it is safe for engineers to go back into the immediate area we will set up emergency drainage and water supply connections to restore services to the area and begin to assess how best to carry out repairs.

“It is not known what caused the sinkhole but this will be investigated.”

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