A car suddenly crashed through the wall of a Forestville house this evening (Monday 29 January), surprising the homeowners as it settled into the front room.
The car, which inexplicably crossed six lanes of the normally-busy Warringah Rd without colliding with any traffic during the onset of peak hour, was unoccupied at the time.
Thankfully there were no injuries to the household occupants, and after emergency services extracted the vehicle, the owner drove it back home, with reportedly little sign of damage to the vehicle.
The incident took place just 1km north of Roseville Bridge, in the housing estate adjacent to the Metro Zone service station on Warringah Rd.
After the car was removed from the brickwork into which it had embedded itself, fire crews braced the outer wall, which suffered significant damage, and set about stabilising the loose bricks to avoid further collapse of the two-storey building.
NSW Fire and Rescue Inspector Charles Begley, the senior officer at the scene, told Manly Observer, “The car came across the six lane highway of Warringah Rd.
“The lady owner got out of the car to unlock the diffs on a four-wheel drive she was having trouble with, then the car took off on her! She was unable to get in and stop it.”
Diff locks – short for ‘differentials’ – are in place on all-wheel-drive vehicles and some utilities to divide the engine torque evenly between the front and rear axles. According to Car Expert website, “A differential lock is designed to ensure one wheel can’t rotate on its own without the other wheel rotating at the same speed.”
Inspector Begley continued, “It came straight across the six lanes, fortunately missing everything, came into the grassed area here [indicating a slope between the damaged house and the highway], picked up speed and then crashed straight through the ground floor wall and window of the apartment.
“It caused severe damage to the brickwork. The car was relatively undamaged and was able to be driven back – it’s now in its garage!”
Fire and rescue officers from Forestville and Crows Nest installed telescopic steel poles to keep the window joist of the damaged house level, then they aligned timber beams and constructed what looked like a small set of soccer goals.
Inspector Begley explained, “Fire & Rescue have to protect the walls using a Technical Rescue vehicle, which carries a lot of equipment for earthquake-type incidents, and, on a smaller scale, this type of building collapse.
“So, we’re going to use timber and acrow props to shore up the opening, and then we’ll board it up so it’s secure from the weather and any intruders, etc, and make the place secure for the night.”
The Inspector explained that although the house had suffered significant damage to the front window and façade through which the car crashed, he believed the overall structure of the house was still intact.
“Because it’s part of community housing, they will bring in an engineer tomorrow to assess the damage and then they’ll bring in their builders to repair it.”