Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland



`The scariest moment of my life'

Family escape after lorry crashes into their house


Extensive structural damage is clearly visable to the front of the house.A LISBURN man has described a lorry careering into his brand new house as he, his wife and young child slept in the early hours of Tuesday morning as the 'scariest moment' of his life.

Paul Gilliland, his wife Leanne and daughter Carly were asleep in their home at Beechfield Mews when a lorry crashed into the gable wall at around 4am.

Paul (30) awoke to find smoke all around and the smell of gas and thought there had been an explosion of some kind.

They found the area around the front door was demolished and extensive damage had been caused to the stairs and part of the front living room. The damage narrowly missed their child's bedroom.

"We were in our beds when we heard what sound like an explosion," said Paul. "I thought the roof had fallen down and there had been a gas leak or a bomb had gone off.

"My wife was screaming and our only concern was to get to Carly who was in the other bedroom." He said that when he got downstairs he saw the lorry and had to climb over rubble and get his family out as he feared the house was going to fall down.

Paul and Leanne Gilliland in their home which was hit by a lorry."I thought the whole house was going to collapse at any stage," he said.

Paul returned upstairs to get clothes for his family but was unable to return a second time even to get his wallet because of the danger.

"We literally had nothing but the clothes on our back until it was safe to return," he said

The scene after the crash on Tuesday morning.Their insurance company came to prop up the house up and the couple are now in negotiations to get a rented house while surveyors assess the full extent of the damage.

"I am just worried how safe the house will be if we return" said Paul. "Will it happen again?

"We have been left shocked but are otherwise okay. It was the most frightening experience of my life. I know it was an accident but it was frightening.

"Its typical that we live in a row of houses and ours was the only one occupied and that's the one that gets hit ."

Paul said their immediate future in the house which they only moved into on October 31 is uncertain.

"We have been told that we will be out of the house at least for six months," he said. "It could even be demolished if it is deemed unsafe."

The lorry driver was taken to hospital and the cause of the crash has yet to be determined.

Ulster Star