THE RECTOR of Bodmin and his wife had a miraculous escape after four tonnes of rubble collapsed into their home.
The Reverend Canon Graham Minors' wife Elizabeth suffered minor injuries and is "lucky to be alive" after the chimney on the roof of the St Petroc's Church rectory came crashing into their lounge last Tuesday evening.
The incident, which occurred only eight weeks after the property was burgled, has forced the couple to abandon their home and they are currently staying in a hotel while new accommodation is sought.
Mr and Mrs Minors were watching television while sitting on their sofa in the lounge when they heard a loud banging sound, which they initially believed to be thunder, before four tonnes of rubble crashed into the room via an upstairs bedroom.
Mr Minors described the event as "disastrous" and said his wife was lucky to be alive.
"The sound got louder and louder and suddenly all this debris smacked through the roof," Mr Minors said. "We are safe and well but it's all been quite a disaster and Elizabeth is very lucky to be alive."
The rectory building has been severely damaged by the collapse and the repairs are expected to take between six and nine months.
Mr Minors and his wife, who will move into temporary accommodation, also suffered a "huge" loss in personal possessions, including all of their bedroom furniture, lounge furniture and clothes.
Contractors are currently on site to secure the building, which has also been damaged internally by water after the recent spate of bad weather, and security guards are patrolling the site overnight to protect the property.
The latest blow comes only eight weeks after a thief broke into the rectory, stealing £1,600 worth of property belonging to Mr Minors.
"It's been one after another but that's how it is, the main thing is that neither of us suffered major injury," Mr Minors said.
The church is also being forced to relocate the rectory office, which is part of the damaged building, to new premises.
Lay chair of St Petroc's Church Bob Micek said the move is an "inconvenience" but said a new office in the church hall is currently being arranged.
"It's a big blow but we are looking to set up a new office just across the road so people have somewhere to come for things like weddings, baptisms and funerals, but first the office needs new phone lines, doors and lighting installed," Mr Micek said.
Meanwhile, anyone who wishes to contact Mr Minors can do so by calling his mobile phone on 07799 884061.