Homes evacuated after huge sink hole opens up underneath party shop

A huge sink hole could swallow up a party shop and a family home next door.

Melissa Aiden, 52, was woken up by a police officer banging on her door telling her to evacuate immediately yesterday (Sunday, October 4).

Emergency services were called after a passer-by spotted that a massive hole had opened up beneath Frog Orange Party in Oxford.

Melissa's proximity to the dangerous hole meant she had to leave her home, where she has lived for 35 years.

She has since been allowed to return but is now afraid that the shop might come down – pulling her house with it.

She said: "They think it's going to come down.

"[The police] said, 'we think it may fall down – there is a possibility', then [they] said, 'I don't think it will take any of yours down, I think it will take the frontage down first'.

"It's a nightmare. I am scared to go to bed because we are attached."

Melissa Alden, who has lived in the Jericho area of the city all her life, said the emergency services brought a structural engineer onto the site.

This person put several timber supports in place in the basement of the shop, visible through the hole in the pavement.

  • Astonishing moment sinkhole swallows river in front of terrified onlookers

But, after that, she claims no one told her what was happening next.

She added: "Nobody told us nothing – the police and fire just left."

Business owner Becky Lee-Allen closed the shop last weekend after the coronavirus pandemic decimated her income and she was unable to negotiate a lower lease with the building's owner, St John's College.

City councillor Susanna Pressel said: "What a dreadful thing to happen, thank goodness no one was injured.

"I believe there have been structural problems with the building for some years, now people who live nearby are worried that their properties might also be affected.

"Let's hope the college will act fast to make sure they are safe and to fix the problem."

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