Bus hit by falling chimney pot as Storm Jonas rages


BUS passengers and pedestrians had a lucky escape after their vehicle was hit by a falling chimney pot thought to have been blown loose by Storm Jonas.

The 2ft-high, 18kg (40lb) chimney pot struck a passing double decker, smashing a window and causing minor injuries to a passenger.

Emergency services closed the road following the incident
Emergency services closed the road following the incident

The pot, which fell around 35ft from the top of a tenement in the city’s busy Nicolson Street at about 9.45am, glanced off the bus and exploded on the road.

Emergency services closed the road well into the early afternoon as they feared other parts of the chimney could be at risk of falling.

The passenger who was struck suffered “minor cuts and bruises” to one hand.

The 2-ft tall chimney pot hit a double decker
The 2-ft tall chimney pot hit a double decker

The closure and subsequent diversions caused a huge backup of traffic in the city centre all morning.

A spokeswoman for Lothian Buses said: “One of our passengers has been hurt due to falling masonry but thankfully has received only minor injuries.”

Stuart Cormack, 22, who works in the nearby Edinburgh Arts and Picture Framers, said: “It’s like a wind tunnel down here, it’s very strong.

“It’s quite scary, somebody could have been seriously hurt.”

Inspecting the other pots
Inspecting the other pots

Concern has been mounting about the state of some of the city’s old buildings and there have been a number of near misses as well as one tragedy.

In June, 2000, 26 year-old Australian waitress Christine Foster was killed by masonry falling from the third floor of a building above a bar in the West End.

Just two years later fears over the capital’s architecture were renewed when another piece fell, just yards away from the spot where she had been killed.

In 2005 it was revealed that pieces of masonry were falling from buildings in Edinburgh at a rate of one every two days.

And in 2012 a former senior council official said that citizens of the city would be safer walking in the middle of the street to avoid the huge amount of debris falling from above.

Brian Sibbald – former head of the city’s property conservation department – said: “Every day in Edinburgh something falls off a building – tiles guttering masonry.

“People would be safer walking in the middle of the street.

“If there is another harsh winter, buildings will be in serious trouble.

“I’m not convinced the council is resilient enough to deal with the quantity of work around the city.”