Great Britain

Sedgefield MP Paul Howell says questions should be asked after teen's fall

AN MP has said questions need to be asked about preventative safety measures after a teenage boy fell 30ft through a shopping centre roof and became trapped for two hours.

Sedgefield MP Paul Howell last night said people must take responsibility for their own safety, but the safety of the roof should be reviewed.

Speaking to The Northern Echo, the newly elected Conservative MP said: “We must thank the emergency services first for their tremendous efforts and team work to rescue the trapped boy, and for putting themselves in danger in the process no doubt.

“People must take responsibility for their own safety, and parents should also be ensuring that their children are being safe. They need to know the dangers of climbing onto roofs because this could have been so much worse.

“But there are obviously some questions that need to be asked around possible preventative safety measures. I would like to see either the council, the police or the fire service look into what could be done to prevent something like this happening again.

“They are the people who know what’s reasonable and you have to be sensible, not everything can be blocked or fenced off and ultimately people need to take responsibility for their own safety.”

Stuart Timmiss, Durham County Council’s head of planning and development, confirmed that council representatives were at the scene on Monday.

He said in a statement: “Our building control, and repairs and maintenance officers were part of a multi-agency response to an incident at the Thames Shopping Centre in Newton Aycliffe on Monday evening.

“They worked with emergency services personnel in creating an opening in a wall inside a business premises to allow a person to be recovered. Officers also prevented access to the roof of the centre, sealed the opening in the wall and gave advice on repairs.

“Our occupational safety team is now making enquiries into the incident, to determine whether there is a need for further investigation.

“It is extremely dangerous to go on the roofs of high buildings and this incident should serve as a reminder of the risks of doing so.”

Durham Police confirmed the boy had been playing football in a nearby car park when the incident happened on St Cuthbert’s Way.

He was rescued after a two hour rescue operation in freezing temperatures with injuries to on of his ankles.

A spokesperson for the North-East Ambulance Service said: “We were called to the Thames Centre in Newton Aycliffe just before 5pm on Monday evening to reports of a person injured following a fall from height.

“We dispatched two double crewed ambulances, one of our hazardous area response teams and also requested support from Great North Air Ambulance.

“A 13-year-old boy was transported to James Cook Hospital by road with a doctor on board.”

An update on the boy’s condition is not known, however it is thought his lower leg injuries were non life-threatening.

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