Two-week-baby and mother left injured after ceiling collapses in Harlesden
PUBLISHED: 12:01 18 July 2013 | UPDATED: 12:25 18 July 2013
Copyright: Mr. Jan Nevill
Tot suffered fractures and mother sustains a broken arm
Housing chiefs are accused of refusing to find suitable housing for a family after a bedroom ceiling collapsed on a newborn baby as she was being breastfed by her mother.
Two-week-old Suheyma Mukhtar stopped breathing and narrowly escaped death after she was crushed by the debris alongside her mother Faduma Mukhtar at their home in St Thomas Road, Harlesden.
The tot, now a month old, suffered fractures to her arm and legs and 33-year-old Mrs Mukhtar’s arm was broken.
Suheyma, who was resuscitated at the scene, could have been killed if Mrs Mukhtar had not instinctively shielded her.
The family is too frightened to return to the property and all 10 of them are now staying in a studio flat belonging to a cousin.
They were placed in the property, which is managed by Genesis Housing Association, by Brent Council.
Originally from Somalia, the Mukhtars are now battling with GHA and the council who both claim the property is safe following emergency repairs.
Mrs Mukhtar’s sister Sarah, who translated on the family’s behalf, said: “They were in the sitting room when they heard a very loud noise. They thought the house was burning down.
“Two of the children started vomiting because there was so much dust and they all ran out.”
The mother and baby were taken to hospital. They have since been discharged but Mrs Mukhtar’s arm is in a cast.
The room was boarded up by fire crews who told the family they should leave – but they say a GHA surveyor told them the house was safe.
The family say they were offered temporary accommodation but the home was unsuitable because of Mrs Mukhtar’s injury.
A council spokesman said: “Ceilings, for a variety of reasons, can fail. Fortunately however, it is very unusual for injuries to occur.
“Both inspections absolutely confirmed that the accommodation is now completely safe and that the family could remain there while the repairs were carried out on the rooms which had plaster damage.”
A spokesman for GHA said the family chose not to move to the alternative accommodation.
He added: “As soon as we were informed of the incident we sent a surveyor round. He confirmed that the remaining rooms are safe from a structural perspective.”
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