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Dad owes life to bike helmet as 10ft wall collapses on him

A dad said his bike helmet saved his life after a 10ft wall collapsed onto him – trapping him beneath a pile of bricks.

Alan Bale screamed for help as he lay with his leg pinned beneath his bicycle and the remains of the wall near his home in Pershore Road, Stirchley.

The 42-year-old was rescued by passers-by – alongside firefighters and paramedics who were called to the scene at around 9am on Monday, October 11.

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He was rushed to hospital but was found to have escaped with minor injuries. But Alan said he owed his life to his sturdy helmet – although he was hauted by the thought of what could have happened had the wall come down on his two children.

The incident took place in an ‘access corridor’ for four terrace homes through which all residents have to pass through to leave.

Years before, the wall had been part of a home but was left standing when developers demolished the property, Alan said.

“The thing that freaked me out is my child had been out the gate the evening before,” Alan, who has a daughter aged four and a 13-year-old son, told BirminghamLive.

“I was lying there thinking it’s just dumb luck that my child – who is like a stick – wasn’t under that wall last night. He would have been crushed by the wall.”

Other residents – including elderly neighbours and children – could have been ‘killed’ or seriously hurt by the collapse had they been passing through when the wall gave way, he said.

Alan’s legs were trapped underneath his bike, beneath a pile of bricks

“I didn’t sleep. The fact is my four-year-old girl could’ve been under there and my 13-year-old boy was in the same place where I got hit. He was pushing his bike through there last night – that’s what’s freaking me out.

“I was shaken by what happened.”

“The wall had a large metal gate on it and was very high, 10ft tall, two layers. They demolished the house to create access and they left that wall standing.

“The wall has been gently leaning over for some years and on Monday morning it was leaning on the gate.

He sustained bruises or cuts in the incident
He sustained bruises or cuts in the incident

“I opened the gate which is a heavy metal gate, and it needed a bit of a shove because it was holding up the entire wall.

“I opened the gate and walked through and within about five seconds the wall came down on me, trapping me between the wall of the house and the wall that was falling on my head.

“I stepped back against the house wall as far as I could and turned on my side. I had a bike helmet on, which probably saved my life as well.

“The wall collapsed on me and knocked me down and my bike was trapped under a pile of bricks and my leg was trapped under the bike.

“I was twisted up pretty badly and had bricks all over me. I pulled the bricks away from my hands and body as quickly as I could and called for help.

“Two passers-by came and pulled more bricks off me until I could breathe properly. Fire and ambulance turned up and continued so I could get my legs out.

One of the injuries sustained in the incident
One of the injuries sustained in the incident

“My wife ran out into the street, she was really freaking out. I couldn’t walk very well as my hip had been twisted, I managed to limp away.”

He spend the next few hours in hospital, having suffered injuries to his arms alongside ‘bumps and bruises’.

“I’m quite stiff, my lower body isn’t really working very well,” he said.

“I’m struggling to move around, but I’m otherwise relatively OK. My hands are a bit battered and I’ve got some big bangs on my arms, but it’s just bumps and bruises.”

Alan and his wife Stephanie Bale at their wedding
Alan and his wife Stephanie Bale at their wedding

Alan’s wife, Stephanie, praised quick-thinking neighbours who rushed over to help after hearing his calls to be rescued from beneath the bricks.

“As soon as it happened I couldn’t get to him,” she explained.

“I heard a noise it sounded like something blew over in the garden, then I heard Alan screaming. I went to the back gate and all I could see was a wall of brick. I had no idea how bad it was.

“Neighbours immediately jumped into help and people we’d been engaging with through our community projects, we knew they were able to help with our daughter.

“We had a lot of people pull together for us which we’re really grateful for.”

West Midlands Ambulance Service confirmed paramedics were called to the street just before 9am.

A spokeswoman for the service said: “We were called at 8.58am to reports of a wall that had collapsed on Pershore Road, Birmingham. One ambulance, a paramedic officer a Hazardous Area Response Team paramedic and a BASICS doctor attended the scene.

“On arrival, we found one patient, a man, who was assessed at the scene and had sustained non-life threatening injuries. He was conveyed to Queen Elizabeth Hospital for further assessment.”

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