The owners of a top Fylde coast restaurant say it was a ‘miracle’ no one was killed after a van veered across a pavement and into their premises – causing £100,000 of damage in the process.
CCTV from Twelve Restaurant and Wine Bar shows the van narrowly missing youngsters walking home from school before hitting the premises at Marsh Mill, Thornton.
The video footage captured at the scene showed a group of schoolchildren wandering across the van’s path in Fleetwood Road North just moments before it ploughed into the building at around 4.15pm on Monday.
Shocked owner Paul Moss, 49, said: “We were in the building at the time and I heard a really loud bang and crash. It was an enormous noise.
“I went outside to see what it was and there was a van wedged in the side of the building.
The driver got out and he was staggering around a bit. He said he lost consciousness around the corner at Domino’s Pizza.Paul Moss
“The driver got out and he was staggering around a bit. He said he lost consciousness around the corner at Domino’s Pizza.
“He took out the metal fences and bollards and landed in the building.
“Outside is where the school bus drops off, and 10 to 15 children had just passed.
“It’s a miracle nobody was killed.”
The damage has been estimated at £100,000, but Paul and wife and business partner Caroline Upton have pledged to carry on as normal while repairs are carried out.
Police are now understood to be investigating whether the driver, from Gas World in Cleveleys, lost consciousness at the wheel.
Tony Bramhall, director at Gas World, in Dorset Avenue, said the driver involved was taken to hospital after the crash, discharged the same day, and was expected to see his GP yesterday.
He said: “It’s unfair for me to comment until I know the facts.
“All I can say really is I’m thankful nobody was hurt.
“The driver is safe and nobody has been harmed, thank God.”
Police remained at the restaurant – which was closed at the time of the accident – until the early hours of the morning amid fears it could be in danger of collapse.
A building surveyor was drafted in to examine the wreckage, while a safety officer from the fire service was called out close to midnight on Monday.
Workers from the county council also attended to close one lane of the road, with traffic restricted by temporary traffic lights yesterday afternoon as contractors worked to patch up the wall.
Mr Moss said Twelve will remain closed for ‘a couple of days’ while the extent of the damage is assessed, and said the section of the building hit will be partitioned off.
He said the company’s work elsewhere – including at Fleetwood Town on match days and Trinity Hospice’s 30th birthday ball at the Tower on Saturday – will not be affected, and said repairs will be finished before the busy festive period.
He added: “The message we want to get out is we will open as soon as we can in some form.
“There will be work required and we will fully open once the work is done.”
His wife Caroline Upton, broke down in tears as she told how customers had sent in messages of support.
She said: “We are extremely grateful to the community, which has been supportive of us for the last 15 years, and our customers are hugely important to us.
“It has been so reassuring that customers are concerned for our staff and our well-being.
“We are working hard to get back open as quickly as possible.”
A spokeswoman for Lancashire Police said nobody had been hurt in the incident, which is now under investigation.
No arrests have been made.