Town repels blasts

ESCAPE: A tree blown down in Owton Manor Lane. Picture by reader STEVEN BARKER.  To submit your photos email
ESCAPE: A tree blown down in Owton Manor Lane. Picture by reader STEVEN BARKER. To submit your photos email

A CAR had a lucky escape after a tree was brought down by winds which battered Hartlepool and east Durham overnight.

The tree fell just inches from this parked Citroen in Owton Manor Lane, Hartlepool, as gusts buffeted town.

Owner Steven Barker, 40, who sent in this picture, said: “The tips of the trees branches landed on my car luckily there was no damage to it, surely one of the luckiest cars about.”

Despite the stormy weather, the fall-out of Hurricane Katia from the USA, Hartlepool escaped any major damage with emergency services reporting a quiet night.

Eddie Thompson, watch manager at Stranton Fire Station, said: “It was a fairly quiet night. We were expecting a little bit with the weather, but I think we were quite lucky.”

The A19 Tees flyover near Middlesbrough reopened at 5am this morning after being closed to all vehicles yesterday afternoon, causing rush hour disruption to scores of commuters.

The winds caused problems for people across east Durham.

Firefighters from Peterlee Fire Station called out to Horden Store, in the village’s Dene Terrace, where the shop’s sign was hanging precariously.

The 12ft-long sign was in danger of coming fully off and firefighters used a ladder to take the sign down to stop anyone being injured.

Crew manager Richard Morgan said: “Once the wind got behind it was half to three-quarters dangling in an unsafe position.

“It didn’t take much for us to take it down and I think the wind itself would have brought it down.”

The incident happened around 1.30pm yesterday and a fire crew spent 20 minutes at the scene.

Firefighters were also called to a house next door to The Village News, in Low Row, in Easington Village, after a chimney pot came loose and fell to the ground.

A rotating metal vent from the chimney was also loose, had become lodged on the roof and was in danger of falling on to passing pedestrians.

A section of the road was closed for 20 minutes while firefighters dealt with the incident.

Met Office forecasters say while more winds are on the way today, they are expected to die down by the end of the week.