16 Feb, 2024 @ 14:00
2 mins read

Furious shop owner says she was almost killed when her building collapsed in Spain’s Estepona – as she blasts ‘shameful’ local government

THE owner of a souvenir shop that suddenly collapsed in Estepona on Wednesday has said it was a “miracle” that she wasn’t killed.

Souvenirs Estepona, a family-run business located on Avenida de España, caved in after the building’s foundations were breached by external sewage treatment work.

Claudia, who owns the store alongside her husband Jose Rodriguez Moreno, said on Facebook: “By a miracle I came out alive, I was inside and I warned that the floor was breaking”.

“In the end, I got out by throwing myself into the shovel of a digger that the workers brought up”, she added.

Billy Pearce, a British comedian, was holidaying with his partner Moira when the building suddenly gave way.

The souvenir shop following its collapse on Wednesday afternoon. Credit: Olive Press

“As we came out of our holiday apartment directly opposite, the building collapsed in front of our eyes”, he told the Olive Press.

“We couldn’t believe it. It was silent on the street at first and then everyone involved in the works began to run, shouting at each other in horror”, he said.

The couple also witnessed Claudia’s attempts to escape the rubble.

“The realisation that people were inside hit hard”, Billy added.

“There was a huge empty trench in front of the shop and the lady who owned it couldn’t get out of the building due to the big hole. A workman took his digger to the shop and the lady climbed into the actual scoop of the digger and they reversed out with her inside”.

“She was dazed and crying, it was so awful to see, but she walked out of there alive. It could have been a completely different story”, he said.

No injuries were reported following the collapse.

An external company, European Technology, Construction and Engineering (IOTE), had been subcontracted by Hidralia, Estepona’s water utilities company, to carry out repairs on the street.

Almost the entirety of Avenida de España is under repair as the municipality seeks to complete works before tourists return this summer. 

Owner Claudia made a statement on her Facebook after the building had to be destroyed. Credit: Facebook.

Souvenirs Estepona, which is located between Mister Noodles restaurant and a branch of the Santander bank chain, has since been demolished completely.

Speaking on her Facebook page, owner Claudia blasted Estepona’s local administration for their lack of support.

“Still no high-ranking official has given me answers. What a shameful government”, she said.

Construction workers from IOTE told the Olive Press that the collapse was due to “human error”.

Previously, Claudia had vented her anger over being forced to close her shop so construction work could take place.

The store before its collapse. Credit: Souvenirs Estepona

“I’m helpless, I’m self-employed and they don’t let me open my shop, just like that. Five months of losses as the Avenida de España was being built and now this”, she commented over a week ago.

The shop, which specialised in offering artisan decorative ceramics, would have turned nine years old in March.

“Goodbye precious…all our effort, encouragement, life, passion, dreams and pain”, she told her followers on Facebook following the collapse.

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Ben Pawlowski

Ben joined the Olive Press in January 2024 after a four-month stint teaching English in Paraguay. He loves the adrenaline rush of a breaking news story and the tireless work required to uncover an eye-opening exclusive. He is currently based in Barcelona from where he covers the city, the wider Catalunya region, and the north of Spain. Send tips to [email protected]

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