Residents have described barely making it out in time as their building began collapsing around them.
Emergency crews rushed to Stoke Newington High Street in north London on Friday morning when lumps of masonry and pieces of scaffolding started crashing onto the pavement.
Video footage shows builders screaming at shoppers to stand back to avoid being hit by the falling rubble.
More than a dozen residents were evacuated from flats above the shops and firefighters urged others to avoid the area.
One told LondonWorld ‘it was like an earthquake’ when ‘when everything started coming down’, adding: ‘The big worry was that people could get killed.’
Beth Clifton told the Evening Standard she was ‘luckily OK’ before saying ’20 seconds earlier I wouldn’t have been’.
A woman tweeted: ‘It was awful. I was moments away from walking under there when it happened.
‘Something needs to be done about these unsafe buildings. I’m so terrified about who was under there. It was busy.’
A spokesperson for the London Fire Brigade said: ‘Firefighters were called to reports of a partial building collapse on Stoke Newington High Street.
‘Scaffolding at the front of a range of shops and masonry from the roof has fallen into the pavement.
‘Around 20 people have been evacuated from properties via the rear of the building.
‘People have been asked to avoid the area.’
A London Ambulance Service spokesperson said: ‘We were called this morning at 9.26am to reports of an incident on Stoke Newington High Street, Hackney.
‘We sent a number of resources to the scene, including one ambulance crew, an incident response officer, members of our hazardous area response team (HART), and a medic in a fast response car.
‘Our first medic arrived at the scene in approximately two minutes. Our crews are assisting emergency services partners. The incident is still ongoing.’
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