A CLOSE-KNIT community of residents are rebuilding their lives after a huge gust of wind lifted the roof from above their heads causing their evacuation.

Seventeen residents were led to safety from the Rowan Court flats, St Nicholas Close, Barry, after hearing what one senior citizen resident described as an “almighty bang” before 1am on Saturday, February 15.

No-one was injured, but flats were badly damaged and residents are now trying to contact their insurers and restore their homes to normal.

Builders are now working on fixing the roof and dealing with the electrics while water continues to seep inside.

Nearby Park Crescent, one of Barry’s main roads, was closed on Saturday, with Cardiff Bus diverting its 96 service.

But the strong-spirited neighbours have exhibited a war time spirit, coping with the aftermath with support of each other, family and friends.

Grandmother, Ann Watkins, on facing police evacuation, said she had even returned to rescue her Nespresso coffee machine.

She said: “Police said ‘Get your medication’ and I said: ‘I’m going back to get my coffee machine’ and drove myself to a friend as I didn’t know how many people would need police assistance.”

Ann has been forced to house her belongings in one room as water leaks through her ceiling, but one unlucky resident has been unable to return with their ceiling now open sky.

Ann said: “It’s happened and it has to be dealt with – it’s just the inconvenience and one reacts. I survived the War.”

Neighbour Elizabeth Curtis, who has had water dripping into two bedrooms saturating beds and carpets, said: “I was in bed. It was 12.50am and there was this almighty bang. I just lay there wondering what to do. The next thing there was flashing lights and the fire brigade and I came down in my pyjamas.

“I felt numb.

“The roof lifted. The fire brigade rang my daughter and I stayed with her and my son.

“We are waiting for builders to arrive to fix the roof. We’ve spent two days trying to get through to insurers. I’ve got no heating.”