Paediatrician's family escape roof slabs collapse that 'could have been lethal'
A family of four have escaped with their lives after huge chunks of masonry fell from their roof in a freak accident.
The concrete blocks landed inches from their patio where Dr Ramy Waly had been sitting only minutes before. His wife and children had also been in the garden shortly before the incident on Saturday afternoon.
"I had moved from my chair but was still in the back garden when it happened," Dr Waly said. It sounded like a falling chair. Then what I heard sounded like a small earthquake. It was horrible."
Dr Waly, a specialist in paediatric surgery at the Royal Victoria Hospital, said there was no building work being carried out at his south Belfast home at the time. He believes the slabs came from a bordering wall between his roof and a neighbour's roof.
"Nobody had touched the roof," he said. "I am worried that this could happen again. The same design is on other houses.
"The stones are very heavy."
Dr Waly owns the Annadale townhouse, which he believes was built around 10 years ago.
Originally from Egypt, he has been living with his family in the house for around two years.
"Shortly before this happened I was sitting just under the line of the stones," he said. "This is very serious. Someone sitting in the chair could have been killed.
"I have a 10-year-old and a 12-year-old. The 10-year-old had been in the garden five minutes before. I am happy nobody was injured."
Dr Waly said it was four or five slabs close to the edge of the roof which had fallen. He said he could see a type of sealant between the stones but is unsure how they are meant to hold together. He is now concerned as to how the rest of the roof is affected.
Dr Waly said he had been in touch with Belfast City Council, which is helping him investigate further.
"I am worried that this is a big problem everywhere in the area," he said. "I have warned all the neighbours. I am concerned this could happen again.
"It really was a shocking incident. We have used the garden since but move away from the area. We don't want the children out there on their own.
"Our neighbours are shocked too."