A WORKMAN had a “very, very lucky” escape when a tree crashed on to his van as 50mph winds ripped through Sheffield.
Frazer Daubney was working with a colleague installing a burglar alarm at a house on Ranby Road, Greystones, as the tree struck the tailgate of the van, smashing the rear window.
The 21-year-old alarm engineer from Stannington, who works for Mayson Security in Broadfield Road, Heeley, had just got out of the van and walked into the house when the tree fell.
He said: “I could easily have been fetching a ladder. I’ve got all my tools in the back.”
Frazer and colleague Tony Amies were alerted by a child who had seen the tree falling and then knocked on the door of the house where they were working.
John May, director of Mayson Security, said: “He’d only just left the van and gone inside when it happened.
“Had Frazer still been outside fetching tools from the back of the van at the time, the tree would have killed him, so he is very, very lucky.
“He and Tony found out what had happened because someone who saw the tree fall went and knocked on the door of the house.
“Frazer is fine, though. He has taken it all in his stride – that’s the kind of employee he is.”
Frazer – and a replacement van – were back at work at the same house after the drama.
Remains of the tree have been cleared by council workers.
Mr May, whose firm employs six people, said: “Luckily, nothing like it has happened before to anyone from our firm.
“The tree has caused around £2,000 of damage to the van because it smashed the rear windscreen and dented the tailgate – but the cost is covered by insurance.”
The incident happened as strong gusts swept the city last Monday.
High-sided vehicles were diverted from the M1 Tinsley viaduct as a safety precaution, using the A631 that runs below the motorway.
Wind speeds reached 65mph on the Peak District moors.
John Hammond, of the Meteorological Office, said: “The strong winds were unusual for the time of year and were caused by a deep area of low pressure.
“Trees are particularly vulnerable at this time of year because of them being in full leaf, so put up some resistance.
“In winter, when they have bare branches, less damage is caused because the wind can blow straight through.”