Witnesses say it is a miracle nobody was “cut in half” by the steel wire of a Christmas light installation which collapsed onto a busy Sunderland shopping street.
Police were called to Holmeside at about 11.50am today and officers confirmed there were no injuries.
The incident took place shortly after a road traffic collision on Fawcett Street, which left a 79-year-old woman with minor injuries.
The lights landed immediately outside the CSS Supporting Vulnerable People charity shop.
Volunteer Michael McDonald and staff member Jane McDonald said they were amazed nobody had been seriously hurt or even killed in the incident.
Jane said: “The cable was fastened to each lamppost. It was too long on one side and was flapping in the wind. The lights could have killed someone.
“The traffic was backed all the way up the road to the roundabout by the university. It was like that for nearly an hour.”
“It was 45 minutes to an hour before someone from the council came.”
Michael said: “It had come loose on one side and had fallen down. It was lying across the road, but it was still attached on both sides.
“I’m surprised nobody was hurt.
“Somebody could have been killed. It could have cut someone in half.
“If a bus had come down the road doesn’t bear thinking about. It’s a steel wire and could have cut it in half.
“It would have done some damage.
“I was expecting the fire brigade to come rather than the council, which is probably why it took longer.”
Jane added: “There are normally cars parked all the way along here.
“My car is parked outside and it came down just next to it.
“How it didn’t hit a car or a person In don’t know.”
A spokesman for Northumbria Police said: “At approximately 11.50am, police received a report that some Christmas lights had fallen onto Holmeside in Sunderland.
“These caused some traffic delays but have now been moved and traffic is flowing again.
“There are no reports of any injuries.”
Coun John Kelly, Sunderland City Council’s portfolio holder for public health, wellness and culture, said:
“A small section of Christmas lighting across Holmeside came down on Friday morning. No-one was hurt.
“The section of lights has been removed and the area made safe.
“The contractor’s health and safety team have been informed and are looking into the incident.
“Further checks will be carried out by the contractor to ensure the integrity of the unaffected festoon lights.”