Woman dies in shop tragedy

Tragic scene: A police cordon around the fallen sign outside the Bank Hey Street store last night
Tragic scene: A police cordon around the fallen sign outside the Bank Hey Street store last night

Investigation after falling sign horror at store

Town centre workers today told of their horror after a woman was killed by a falling shop sign in Blackpool.

The incident happened at Waterstones book shop, Bank Hey Street, at around 5.30pm yesterday.

The victim, believed to be a woman in her 70s, was outside the store when the sign at the front fell, striking her.

She was tragically pronounced dead at the scene.

One onlooker said: “We heard this crash and looked around to see the whole shop sign on the ground. The lady was trapped. It was horrible.”

A security worker, who asked not to be named, sprinted to the scene after a radio message came through from another shop worker asking for assistance.

He said: “A message came through saying there was falling debris and they needed urgent assistance.

“It was mainly security people there from all the shops and members of the public. There was probably about 15 or 16 people there.

“There were probaby 10 or 11 of us who lifted it off. People were on the phone to 999. There was a woman there trying to comfort (the injured woman) but she was unconscious. There was a fast response paramedic, he was probably there within 10 minutes. Then the police cameand moved everyone on.”

A spokesman for Lancashire Police said a full investigation has been launched.

It is not yet known what caused the sign to fall. The victim has not been formally identified and it is not known whether she was a shop worker or was simply passing by.

Police last night put up a large cordon around the area, from the Boots store up to Shoe Zone, while police and council officers worked to secure the scene.

Building control experts from Blackpool Council were asked to inspect the site and ensure there were no other elements of immediate concern to make the scene safe for investigations to be carried out.

Melissa Kimpton, 26, was on Bank Hey Street with her mum Margaret, 54, when they heard a “crash” and realised the sign had fallen.

She said: “We heard this crash and looked around to see the whole shop sign on the ground, the lady was trapped. It was horrible.

“People ran over to help, there were quite a lot of people, but there was nothing we could have done. When the ambulance came a group of men helped to lift the sign.

“We feel so sad for the lady.”

A taxi driver, working from the cab rank on Bank Hey Street, said: “I was shocked to drive around the corner and see all that debris.

“It’s shocking. You get to know a lot of people working in the town centre here, it’s a nice business community, so it’s just completely shocking.

“There’s been all this wind without tragedy, then on a calmish night something like this happens.”

Another taxi driver, who also asked not to be named, added: “Apparently there was a big bang and the sign came down.”