'Miracle no one was killed': Woolworths shoppers flee as ceiling collapses in storm

Tom Flanagan
News Reporter

A Woolworths shopper says it is lucky nobody was killed after a ceiling collapsed following a deluge of rain at a Melbourne store.

Chris Kounelis was in the Templestowe supermarket, in the city’s northeast, amid a heavy downpour of rain on Sunday.

The Monash University law student said while dozens of customers went about their shopping, the ceiling suddenly gave way, with multiple panels crashing to the floor and sending a deluge of water onto the supermarket floor.

“The torrential downpour and subsequent collapse of the ceiling resembled a scene from Titanic,” Mr Kounelis told Yahoo News Australia.

The rain was pouring through the ceiling across Woolworths store. Source: Twitter/ Chris Kounelis

Startled customers were forced to flee the area before staff at the store evacuated the building.

Mr Kounelis shared footage of the store to his Twitter account, showing customers dodging the rain pouring through gaps above.

The Templestowe local said other shoppers were left questioning the durability of the roof.

“A few customers I spoke to immediately raised concerns about the structural integrity of this apparently paper-thin ceiling,” he said.

“Woolworths... clearly owes customers an explanation.

“It’s a miracle no one was killed.”

Customer safety a priority to Woolworths

A Woolworths spokesperson told Yahoo News Australia no one was injured during the incident.

“The safety of our customers and team members is our number one priority,” the spokesperson said.

“Our Templestowe team acted quickly to evacuate the store in line with our established safety procedures and alongside local authorities.”

The store was closed for about five hours on Sunday before it was reopened. Two aisles remain closed within the store.

Days of rain for Victoria

Rain and hail have lashed Victoria, sparking almost 1500 calls for assistance with more severe weather on the way as bushfires continue.

The State Emergency Service received 1453 calls for assistance since Sunday morning, more than 1000 of them for building damage.

Another 139 callouts were for flooding, while 118 were for trees that had fallen down on roads.

Rain fell hardest in East Gippsland, with 56.6mm falling at Mount Elizabeth and 55mm at Mount Wellington.

In Melbourne, the northeast and inner east were hit with severe thunderstorms, including giant hail.

Most areas copped between 10 and 15mm of rain, while Doncaster received 27mm.

Further rain is expected on Monday, with widespread falls of between 10 and 30mm predicted, but some areas could see isolated totals of up to 80mm or 100mm.

The wet conditions could lead to flash flooding in some areas, but the weather bureau says rainfall is unlikely to put out remaining blazes.

With AAP

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