Dartmouth Park teacher ‘lucky to be alive’ after ceiling crashes onto her bed

A Dartmouth Park teacher has told how she is lucky to be alive after her ceiling collapsed into a heap of rubble on her bed – two times in as many days.

Linda Black was in her living room about to go to bed when she heard a “rumbling like thunder” coming from her bedroom.

She rushed upstairs to discover the ceiling of her home in Spencer Rise had caved in, leaving her cherished belongings in a thick coating of black dust and debris.

“I ran upstairs, opened the door to my bedroom and it was just like a coal pit,” she said.

“There was plaster on my pillow and dust and rubble everywhere, my feet were blackened in dirt.

“Half an hour later and I would have been in bed and killed or seriously hurt. It is terrifying to think about it. I’m lucky to be alive.

“All I could do was close the door and leave the dust to settle.”

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Ms Black, a special needs teacher at Parliament Hill School, in Highgate Road, had to spend a sleepless night in her spare room as she waited for builders to come around the next day to fix her home.

But disaster struck twice as the following night another section of the ceiling collapsed in, forcing her to dive out of the way to avoid being hit by the raining debris.

“I only just managed to leap out of the path of the rubble, it was terrifying,” she said.

“It would have fallen right onto me if I hadn’t dived out of the way. One piece caught me on the shoulder, but it could have been much worse.”

Her bedroom was left virtually roofless. The tumbling rubble smashed a lamp and blackened her walls, floors and a bed, leaving Ms Black with a building and redecoration bill likely to climb to many thousands of pounds.

The mother-of-three was so traumatised by the disaster that she couldn’t return to work at Parliament Hill for a fortnight.

“I went into school to try and work but just couldn’t,” she said.

“I was physically and mentally in a state of shock.”

Ms Black contacted her insurance company, Axa, to discuss fixing the ceiling, which fell down at the end of May.

But she was told that despite having contents and building insurance, they would not fit the bill as the damage was not external.

“I was really shocked, it has exacerbated the whole drama,” she said.

“I have been paying out for an insurance policy that when it comes to it, wont cover what I desperately need.”

An AXA spokeswoman said it had refused Ms Black’s claim because while heavy rainfall was believed to have caused the collapse, the conditions were not commensurate with a storm and therefore not covered by her policy.