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Storm Fionn fells tree in Tufnell Park Road, crushing car and closing street

PUBLISHED: 10:00 18 January 2018 | UPDATED: 16:15 22 January 2018

The tree collapsed in Tufnell Park Road at about 5am. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

The tree collapsed in Tufnell Park Road at about 5am. Picture: Ramzy Alwakeel

Archant

A father whose car was crushed by a falling tree during high winds early this morning says he had already warned the authorities the horse chestnut was at risk of collapsing onto his home.

The fallen tree in front of Mehmet Sipahiogle's house. Picture: Mehmet Sipahiogle The fallen tree in front of Mehmet Sipahiogle's house. Picture: Mehmet Sipahiogle

Mehmet Sipahiogle’s vehicle was badly damaged by the tree, which also demolished a front wall but fortunately missed the Tufnell Park Road house.

It happened at about 5am as gusts during Storm Fionn reached 56mph in parts of London. Police shut the street and a council team was left hastily shredding the debris to get it open again – which eventually happened at about 10am.

Mr Sipahiogle told the Gazette he had already warned workers about the tree, fearing it would come down if nothing was done about it.

The tree destroyed part of the garden wall. Picture: Mehmet Sipahiogle The tree destroyed part of the garden wall. Picture: Mehmet Sipahiogle

“We all woke up with a really loud noise,” he said. “We didn’t know what was happening outside. We thought it was a car crash or something.

“When we looked outside the tree had been on the ground and the light had been broken so it was pitch black.”

As well as a lamppost, the tree knocked down the family’s garden wall. They fear it would have gone straight into their house if it had fallen in a different direction.

The leaning wall behind Mehmet Sipahiogle's house in Tufnell Park Road. Picture: Mehmet Sipahiogle The leaning wall behind Mehmet Sipahiogle's house in Tufnell Park Road. Picture: Mehmet Sipahiogle

“I felt scared,” said Mr Sipahiogle. “We were all panicking.”

He has also been asking his landlord, Partners for Improvement – the business that manages thousands of Islington Council’s street properties – to fix a wall at the back of the house separating the garden from a car park.

It is sagging towards the family home so badly that scaffolding has been put up to stabilise it, but he still fears it is dangerous and is reluctant to use the garden.

The leaning wall over Mehmet Sipahiogle's back garrden. Picture: Mehmet Sipahiogle The leaning wall over Mehmet Sipahiogle's back garrden. Picture: Mehmet Sipahiogle

Islington Council confirmed its workers had attended to clean up the fallen tree.

Partners has been asked for comment on Mr Sipahiogle’s claims it failed to act on his warnings about the tree or wall – or pass his fears about the tree on to the council.

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