LONDON — Police and ambulance crew were called to the Topshop fashion show venue here Tuesday after a builder fell through the roof and into the backstage area as the Fashion East show was taking place.
According to an eyewitness, a man fell about 26 feet through a moss-covered corrugated glass plate roofing panel, hit a pipe and landed backstage, injuring his back.
The audience gasped audibly when they saw a roof panel fall onto the catwalk side of the venue, which used to be a car park, around 1:15 pm local time, but the show continued, and no one left.
Fashion East is a seasonal group show of three emerging designers, and is supported by Topshop. The incident occurred about mid-way through the event as Louise Alsop was showing her collection.
A witness in the audience who was sitting near the backstage area said she “heard a loud crack as the panel gave way, then the man fell through and hit a pipe on the way down.”
The man landed backstage where he was treated by paramedics, and then later was removed on a stretcher. His condition was classed as serious but not life-threatening.
He had fallen into an area where large lighting boxes were stacked, and no one working backstage at the show was harmed.
Backstage one paramedic said the victim was “complaining of a back injury.” He was conscious, however, and able to recite his name, address and date of birth.
The victim was confirmed by the Metropolitan Police to be a construction worker and sources at the scene said he had been part of a team working on a neighboring construction site, and was believed to be eating his lunch on the roof when he fell. The Health and Safety Executive, an independent regulator for work-related health, safety and illness, has been informed and an investigation is underway.
The Ambulance Service confirmed that the man was in his thirties and said he was escorted by a doctor in an ambulance to the Royal London Hospital.
Topshop Tweeted about the incident saying, “For those at the #TopshopShowspace earlier for @Fashion_East the worker from the adjacent building is being cared for by medical staff.” The British Fashion Council said it had no plans to issue a comment.
A Topshop spokesperson said that onsite production medical staff responded immediately to the man’s injuries before calling the paramedics. She added that the brand is looking in to why the worker was walking on the roof at the time.
The Ashish show, which was scheduled to run at 3pm, went ahead as planned. The Topshop venue is located this season on Gray’s Inn Road, not far from King’s Cross Station.