Heartbroken families were forced to flee their homes in terror in the early hours of the morning – after their buildings began to collapse.
They rushed to retrieve their belongings after huge cracks appeared in their walls, floors and ceilings, exposing the houses below and the dirt below.
A resident noticed cracks appeared on their walls when they woke up in the middle of the night – and sounded the alarm with the neighbors.
The staircase to their upstairs apartment then collapsed, with the back of the property collapsing, while their downstairs neighbor’s ceiling collapsed.
Emergency services arrived at the scene in the seaside town of Sharphill Road and decided the properties were unsafe.
They evacuated 12 houses after the tragedy at around 1:50 am, the street was cordoned off and road diversions were put in place.
It is understood that those affected will stay with their loved ones until they are told their home is safe to return.
Workers were also called in to assess the gas and water supply to surrounding properties, and the gas supply to part of the street was cut this afternoon.
It is understood that the property and surrounding houses were then appraised by structural experts and repair work was carried out.
A police officer at the scene told residents that foam concrete had been sprayed into the foundation and repaired the structure.
He said, “These houses will not move. These guys are experts, they work all over the world.
A relative of one of the affected families said: “It was so surreal. It was like something out of a movie.
“We just had to get the essentials, the insurance papers, etc., and get out of there as quickly as possible.
“The cracks in the ground were getting bigger, it was literally collapsing under us.
“It’s heartbreaking. We don’t know what we’ve lost and what we’ll get back because we can’t go in to see.
“But we are grateful that it was noticed when it did, because it could have been a lot worse.”
A Scottish Police spokesperson said: ‘Several residents of Sharphill Road, Saltcoats were evacuated from their homes after we received reports of security concerns in the buildings at around 1.50am on Saturday 25th September. .
“Diversions are in place to allow further investigations by emergency services and partner agencies. “
The Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said they were no longer present at the scene.
The Coal Authority has been contacted for comment.
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