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Timber: Ilford man escapes death by "matter of inches" after 60ft tree crashes down in wind

PUBLISHED: 17:00 12 August 2019

Picture: Premier Security & Fire

Picture: Premier Security & Fire

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An Ilford businessman feels lucky to be alive after a near-death experience on Saturday.

Picture: Premier Security & Fire Picture: Premier Security & Fire

Neil Johns, 49, escaped being crushed by a 60ft tree "by inches" on August 10 after high winds caused an eight-tonne poplar to fall down.

The steel fabrication worker was at Premier Security & Fire in Roebuck Road, Hainault Industrial Estate, when the large tree smashed into this workshop and service area of the business.

"The whole thing came crashing down in a matter of seconds," he said.

"I was standing in the service road outside our powder-coating area when I heard a loud crack.

Picture: Premier Security & Fire Picture: Premier Security & Fire

"Then the tree started to fall.

"Luckily for me, the workshop door was already open and I darted in pretty rapidly."

Mr Johns said just two seconds later, the tree keeled over on the exact spot where he had been standing.

"I'm counting this as a lucky day," he added.

Picture: Premier Security & Fire Picture: Premier Security & Fire

He says the tree, which was growing in a neighbouring field, demolished 20 metres of fencing and damaged downpipes, roofing and brickwork on the workshop.

"We normally have a few of our Transit vans parked in that area but our installers were out on site installing community entrance security doors for a job in Tower Hamlets," explained Mr Johns.

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"The repair bill will not be cheap, but it could have been a whole lot more expensive if the vans had been parked there.

"Equally, we are counting our blessings that no one was hurt."

Hainault was not the only part of the borough affected by high winds this weekend and residents reported that trees were blown down in Clayhall and Wanstead.

Flying gazebos were also spotted by residents.

Transport for London (TfL) tweeted out on Friday (August 9) that a tree had been uprooted on the A12 just past Redbridge Roundabout.

"There are reports of a fallen tree on the carriaway," it said.

"Approach with caution."

As well as the forceful winds some residents also faced a power cut and large parts of London and the south east were left without electricity.

UK Power Networks confirmed that a failure on National Grid's network was "affecting" customers.

The drop in power affected traffic lights in the capital, and (TfL) urged road users to be "cautious" when travelling.

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