Hatfield Arcade closed off after girl nearly hit by falling glass panels
PUBLISHED: 13:37 29 August 2017 | UPDATED: 16:52 30 August 2017
Welwyn Hatfield Council will be closing off a shopping arcade after falling glass panels nearly hit a five-year-old in Hatfield town centre.
Susan Whitsey, 26, of Hatfield, was walking through the Arcade on Monday after getting some food shopping with her three-year-old son and five-year-old daughter when the near miss happened.
Susan told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “I heard a noise so loud that at first I thought it was a gunshot.
“My son sprinted off because he was so scared by the sound.
“I looked up instantly and saw that the glass panels above us were starting to fall.
“My daughter had frozen in fear so I quickly grabbed her and as I did the glass smashed down where she was standing.
“It was inches from falling on her head.
“It could have been fatal if it had.”
The former Bishop’s Hatfield Girls’ School pupil took her children to safety away from the glass roof and called the police.
Susan added: “I was too scared to stay standing under that glass roofing.
“Nothing had fallen on it to cause it to break like that, it must have been because of the heat.
“I’m so angry, shaken, and upset by the situation.
“I’m so worried about it happening again and landing on someone.
“That whole bit of the Arcade needs to be closed off until it is fully investigated and made safe.”
The two panels of glass, which fell outside Tasty Vapes and American Top Nails, were cleared up by 4pm on Monday.
Jake Kingston, who owns the store Tasty Vapes that is in the Arcade, told the Welwyn Hatfield Times: “It was a miracle that no one was killed.
“My store is right outside where the panels fell so it was lucky that I wasn’t open because I have customers going in and out all day.
“I understand that my customers may be too frightened to walk under the Arcade to get to my shop so if this is the case call me on 07944433306 and I’ll be happy to bring anything you might need out to you, provided that you’re in the town centre.”
A spokesman for Welwyn Hatfield Council said: “We received a call on bank holiday Monday reporting an incident in which a panel of safety glass had fallen in the Arcade.
“The area containing the debris – pieces of glass which had broken into small pebbles as it is designed to do, rather than shards – was quickly fenced off and cleared.
“A further investigation by council officers today (Tuesday) has not been able to confirm whether the incident was caused by an object hitting the glass or whether there was a structural issue.
“Therefore, until further assessments can be made, we are in the process of closing off the Arcade as a precautionary measure.
“We will provide a further update to retailers and residents as soon as we can.”