House col­lapse vic­tim dies

Friends are ‘con­vinced’ dust and stress of his or­deal wors­ened his con­di­tion

Costa Blanca News (South Edition) - - Front Page - Awatkins@cbnews.es

Friends ‘con­vinced’ dust and stress wors­ened his con­di­tion

By Alex Watkins A BRI­TISH man res­cued from his Ori­huela Costa apart­ment when the two-storey build­ing started to col­lapse on Septem­ber 26 has died, a close friend has told Costa Blanca News.

Mal­colm Lawrence was aged 58 and sadly passed away at Tor­re­vieja hospi­tal on Tues­day morn­ing.

His cause of death was given as be­ing em­phy­sema and liver fail­ure, which ex­isted pre­vi­ously to the in­ci­dent, ex­plained Stephen Barofka.

Nev­er­the­less, he said Mr Lawrence’s friends are ‘con­vinced’ that the dust and stress of his or­deal wors­ened his con­di­tion.

Mal­colm was res­cued by the emergency ser­vices af­ter the apart­ment above his ground floor home started to sink and he was un­able to es­cape be­cause the se­cu­rity grill on his door would no longer open.

He suf­fered ex­ten­sive bruis­ing and was also treated for shock at Tor­re­vieja hospi­tal be­fore be­ing dis­charged into the care of friends on Oc­to­ber 2, al­though he still re­quired oxy­gen.

How­ever, his con­di­tion wors­ened a few days later and he had to be read­mit­ted but did not re­cover.

Mr Lawrence’s daugh­ter was due to ar­rive on Tues­day evening and de­tails of the fu­neral had not been ar­ranged at the time of go­ing to press, ex­plained Mr Barofka.

He de­scribed his friend as a ‘thor­oughly nice gen­tle­man’, who would ‘al­ways help those in trou­ble’, adding: “We’ve lost one of our own.”

He in­di­cated that a wake will prob­a­bly be held in their lo­cal, The Friendly Bar, where they of­ten used to ‘put the world to rights’.

An­other Bri­tish man had to be res­cued from the topfloor apart­ment us­ing a crane and he was also taken to hospi­tal with shock but was oth­er­wise un­harmed, while a Bri­tish cou­ple down­stairs man­aged to es­cape by them­selves.

None of the res­i­dents have been al­lowed to re­turn to col­lect any be­long­ings since, due to the high risk of the struc­ture col­laps­ing com­pletely.

A town hall spokes­woman told Costa Blanca News that its en­gi­neers’ re­port was handed to them on Mon­day and con­cluded that the build­ing will have to be de­mol­ished.

She ex­plained this will have to be ar­ranged and paid for by the in­surance com­pa­nies of the eight house­holds, mean­ing that if any of them were unin­sured they would have to con­trib­ute to­wards the ex­pense from their own pocket.

Res­i­dents of the six homes near­est to the col­lapsed build­ing have not been al­lowed to move back in since ei­ther, due to their prox­im­ity to the pre­car­i­ous struc­ture.

The town hall has is­sued a dead­line for the de­mo­li­tion project to be pre­sented but did not re­veal when.

The evacuated res­i­dents have var­i­ously re­turned to the UK or been put up in ho­tels, rented ac­com­mo­da­tion or with friends.

The lo­cal com­mu­nity also ral­lied round to raise funds for any­thing they might need.

The house col­lapse in Ori­huela Costa

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