West Lothian mum-of-two woken by 'big bang' as potentially deadly asbestos rained from ceiling

It the family without vital clothes and furniture

Thursday, 13th August 2020, 4:45 pm
Sophie McGarry, 21, from Armadale, was woken by a “big bang” to find her ceiling had collapsed with potentially deadly asbestos raining down

A West Lothian mum has been left practically destitute after her bedroom ceiling collapsed, showering the woman and her two young daughters with asbestos as they slept below.

Sophie McGarry, 21, from Armadale, was woken by a “big bang” to find her ceiling had collapsed with potentially deadly asbestos raining down, leaving the family without vital clothes and furniture, including beds, and her daughters without toys.

She was previously told by council officials there was nothing to be concerned about after she expressed worry over cracks appearing in the ceiling.

Sign up to our daily newsletter

The i newsletter cut through the noise

When she woke up, Sophie immediately contacted West Lothian Council to make them aware of the incident.

Sophie, who has a three-year-old and a one-year-old, said: “I just opened my eyes and saw that my ceiling had collapsed. I had a big bit of my ceiling on my bed and at my feet. I checked and it was all over the floor, down the side of my bed and on all our jackets. If it was any closer to my wee girl then it would have seriously hurt her.”

A specialist team sent by the council discovered the ceiling was made of asbestos, which if inhaled can cause serious and deadly respiratory illnesses.

The council offered to house the family for five days at a hotel until the rooms were made safe by the emergency team.

However, with two small children, Sophie decided to return home after the council gave the green light to use any unaffected rooms at the property.

She said: “They tried to put me and my two daughters in the Premier Inn Hotel for five days without any breakfast provided for us and told me that it’s because I would buy food in the house myself. I don’t know how they were expecting me to cook any meals for them in a hotel room.”

The family have now been left without beds, clothing, furniture and toys after being advised to dispose of any material belongings destroyed in the incident.

The council have assured them they are working promptly to resolve the issue.

Labour Councillor for Armadale and Blackridge, Andrew McGuire, said: “I’m glad that no one was injured and I will be continuing to liaise with council officers to ensure the works are completed as quickly as possible for this young family.”

To help Sophie get back on her feet, a family friend has set up a Gofundme page to raise money for essentials.

Sophie is now warning other tenants not to ignore signs of damage when they first appear.

“Don’t let the council tell you there’s nothing wrong because it can happen and it happened to us,” Sophie added.

A message from the Editor:

Thank you for reading this story on our website. While I have your attention, I also have an important request to make of you.

The dramatic events of 2020 are having a major impact on many of our advertisers - and consequently the revenue we receive. We are now more reliant than ever on you taking out a digital subscription to support our journalism.

Subscribe to the Edinburgh Evening News online and enjoy unlimited access to trusted, fact-checked news and sport from Edinburgh and the Lothians. Visit https://www.edinburghnews.scotsman.com/subscriptions now to sign up.

By supporting us, we are able to support you in providing trusted, fact-checked content for this website.

Joy Yates

Editorial Director