Fatality announced following Citadel collapse

18 July 2017

Though two people were able to extract themselves with ‘minimal injuries’, South Wales Fire and Rescue tonight confirmed that a man trapped in the collapsed structure has died from his injuries.

Work had been progressing to demolish the 1892 Citadel building over the last few weeks and the building has been covered in scaffolding and netting.   However, according to this BBC News article, Cardiff demolition firm ‘Young Contractors’ confirmed none of its staff were on the site at the time.  No further details have been released about the person who died.

A full investigation into what caused the collapse will be launched.

More information can be found in Wales Online’s most recent article.

Planning permission for 17 x one bedroom flats and 1 x two bedroom apartment to be built on the site had been submitted.

The building has been described in today’s media as ‘derelict’ and certainly reports made about the building last year seem to confirm that description:

Network Rail originally suspected the building to be unsafe following early assessment of the area surrounding Splott Road Bridge last year (in preparation for the rebuild of the bridge) and made the property owner and council aware of their findings (as reported by Inksplott in this article from last year):

“Karl Gilmore, (Programme Manager) also advised that a survey completed on the citadel at the corner of Splott Road and Pearl Street concluded that it was at risk of imminent collapse and informed the Council and the citadel property owner who took the decision to demolish the building.”  

In a report by architects C2J, the building was described as “potentially dangerous structure” with “a risk of collapse towards the railway line”.

According to this C2J Design and Access Statement on the proposed residential development on the site:

“The existing 3 storey property is in a dilapidated condition with the internal ground floor ceiling removed and the basement ceiling in a poor condition. Internal plaster is hollow, damp and cracked having been exposed to the elements over a number of years.”

The document can be read in full here.

Karl Gilmore, Programme Manager with Network Rail, told Inksplott earlier today that Network Rail workers heard a collapse from the demolition of the Citadel and went straight down to check the tracks. On finding rubble and debris on the lines, they called emergency services and stopped the next train to come along, following health and safety procedures.

At the request of the Fire Brigade, who were quickly on-site, all four train lines were closed along with the top part of Splott Road and Pearl Street.  Though one of the train lines reopened later in the afternoon, roads remained closed late into the evening.

Mr Gilmore later expressed his sadness on hearing news of the fatality:

“On behalf of Network Rail and the Splott Road bridge project team, I wish to pass on my sincere condolences to the family and friends of the worker who tragically died today.  This is deeply saddening news.”

The Citadel, originally built in 1892 by members of the Mount Tabor Chapel, was later used by the Salvation Army from around 1916 to the 1980s.  It was used as a commercial unit for a while after that but has sat empty in recent times.

Many of us were saddened by news that yet another of the area’s historic buildings was being demolished to make way for flats, and many of us were sad at the sorry state of the building itself, but we are all sad tonight at the tragic outcome of today’s events.

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