Possible prosecution after East Lothian church ceiling collapse
CHURCH leaders face possible criminal charges after part of a ceiling collapsed on a scout meeting.
The Evening News reported last October how two beavers were hospitalised after plaster plummeted from above at Tranent Church Hall.
Environmental health chiefs have spent 12 months investigating whether any blame lies with hall owners Church of Scotland with their report to prosecutors imminent.
A spokeswoman for East Lothian Council said: “Following the collapse of an area of plaster from the Church Hall ceiling, an investigation was undertaken by the council's environmental health service.
“The Hall has been back in use for some time, with the investigation report being finalised and expected to be concluded shortly.”
"A leader was also in shock - this could've been catastrophic"
Terrified kids were sent running for cover after the collapse during an evening meeting with police, paramedics and firefighters scrambled to the hall.
Two seven-year-old boys were taken to the Sick Kids - one was understood to have needed staples in a head wound, the other suffered a sore neck.
"A leader was also in shock - this could've been catastrophic," said a witness.
About 100 cubs, scouts and beavers were packed into the hall when a piece of plaster measuring about four metres across plummeted 30ft from the ceiling onto a table below.
One parent, also in the hall at the time, said: "The ceiling plaster collapsed from the roof over a group of children, the Beavers, and it was chaos - walking wounded and one with head split open. This could have been far worse.
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service confirmed there was no structural collapse but plaster fell from the ceiling.
A number of other children suffered minor injuries but none were seriously hurt.
One possible cause mooted at the time was water leaking from the roof and weakening the plaster.
The council’s environmental health service investigates accidents and dangerous events reported to the service, taking enforcement action where necessary and giving advice as appropriate.
A Church of Scotland spokesperson said: "Since the accident occurred in October last year we have been working closely with East Lothian Council Regulatory Services Department as they carried out their investigations.
“We will welcome the report when it is published but it would be inappropriate for us to comment further until it has been made public."