Family evacuated after landslip in Old Sodbury tell of shock
8:40am Thursday 29th November 2012 in News By Alexandra Womack, senior reporter covering Yate, Chipping Sodbury, Winterbourne, Frampton Cotterell, Rangeworthy, Wickwar, Hawkesbury, Iron Acton, Coalpit Heath and Old Sodbury
A YOUNG family evacuated after a landslip threatened their Old Sodbury home have spoken of their shock during the frightening experience.
Anna Williams, who lives in a flat in Church Lane with her husband Richard and their two small children, woke up on Sunday morning to find several thousand tonnes of earth were piling up outside their bedroom window.
Said Mrs Williams, originally from Russia but who has lived in Old Sodbury since 2008: "My husband drew the curtains and he saw the wall was on the floor. We hadn’t heard anything in the night.
"Five minutes later our neighbour knocked on the door and then the fire brigade came and said we had better leave.
"They gave us a few minutes to pack some things but we didn’t know if the whole structure was going to come down. It was pretty scary."
Mrs Williams, 32, and Mr Williams, 43, quickly dressed their children, three-year-old Edward and one-year-old Camilla, before they were evacuated along with nine other homeowners just after 8am following a night of torrential rain.
Three families were taken to the nearby Dog Inn to recover from the overwhelming experience and two, including the Williams, have been given emergency accommodation in the pub's bed and breakfast.
"Two cars, including ours, are still trapped at the back of the house in the garages and no-one can get them out," said Mrs Williams. "We have borrowed a car from our neighbours as my husband is a doctor and needed to go to a conference in London on Monday.
"Other people have brought toys for the children and a lot of people have been very thoughtful. It has shown there really is village spirit."
She added: "We are fine. At least we are safe and have lovely people who have said we can stay here.
"But it has been shocking. I went back to the house on Monday and could see cracks on the walls. We still don’t know what is going to happen, if the structure will go, and that is scary."
John Harris, landlord at the Dog, said the pub was happy to help when the fire brigade came knocking on Sunday morning.
"We didn’t know anything about it until there were firefighters at the door looking for accommodation for some residents," he said. "We helped a few families. In fact, we already had a couple in from down the road who had been flooded."
Avon Fire and Rescue Service spokesman James Bladon said one crew from Yate attended the scene to ensure no-one was at risk.
All but two families have now been allowed to return to their properties. Structural engineers and insurance surveyors have been inspecting the houses this week and a police cordon remains in place.
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