A TODDLER and his family had a lucky escape after a shop ceiling crashed down on them.
The Duggan family had to shield their 19-month-old from falling debris as the roof of The Bakers Oven, in Sunderland city centre, caved in.
Michael Duggan, 21, had been in the shop with son Toby, sister Rebecca, 17, and cousin Bernard, 29, waiting for their chicken curry to be cooked.
Bernard was hit on the head by falling rubble after leaping on top of Toby to protect him. Seconds later, the whole family were covered in the wreckage.
Michael said: “You don’t expect something like this to happen when you go for a bite of food.
“It’s an absolute disgrace. My son was in there and I dread to think what would have happened if my cousin hadn’t jumped over him to protect him.
“He got hit on the head by some of the rubble, but if he wasn’t there, my son would have been hit and probably would have been seriously injured.”
The family had been in the city centre yesterday doing some Christmas shopping when they decided to stop off at The Bakers Oven, in Holmeside.
But while they were waiting for their food, they heard a noise from above before the ceiling caved in.
“We heard something drop then suddenly the whole ceiling came crashing down on us,” Michael, of Hylton Road, said.
“My sister was screaming because it was such a shock.
“We couldn’t believe what was going on, you don’t expect that to happen.
“There was dust and rubble and that everywhere, it was a mess.
“Thankfully no-one was seriously hurt, it could have been a lot worse. We were really lucky.”
Paramedics and police were called to the shop, which is an independent bakery and not connected with the Baker’s Oven chain.
Rebecca, 17, who suffers from Chron’s disease and has a heart problem, was checked over by paramedics but did not need hospital treatment.
Bernard’s head injury was also checked by police but he refused hospital treatment.
Michael said: “It was a massive shock and took us a while to stop shaking.”
A Northumbria Police spokeswoman said: “Police attended The Baker’s Oven at 11.25am yesterday after reports a ceiling had collapsed and a female had suffered minor injuries.
“We advised that the incident be reported to the Health and Safety Executive.”
The North East Ambulance Service also attended the scene and confirmed no-one was taken to hospital.
The incident also left shop workers shocked.
The Baker’s Oven manger was too upset to speak to the Echo.