An eye witness has described the collapse of a Sydenham bakery which killed one customer and left another a paraplegic.

Cheryl Armour was giving evidence at the Royal Commission of Inquiry today into the collapse the Tasty Tucker Bakery. The wall of the adjacent building, 382 Colombo St, collapsed through the bakery's roof on February 22.

Maureen Fletcher, 75, was killed when the roof of the bakery collapsed.

She had spent the last moments of her life speaking to an elderly couple, Bruce and Margaret Moon, whom she did not know. Mr and Mrs Moon were able to escape the bakery, but Mrs Fletcher's body was later found under the rubble.


Another customer, Beverly Edwards, was left a paraplegic after the injuries sustained in the bakery roof's collapse.

Ms Armour was working as a shop assistant at the bakery when the earthquake struck.

"I had just served Mrs Fletcher and was walking back behind the counter when the earthquake struck. Mrs Fletcher was struck by a beam that came down from the roof. I think that she would have been killed instantly. "

"Bricks were flying everywhere, falling in from the ceiling...Bev Edwards was pinned by a beam. I stayed with her but was also trying to ascertain how others were in the shop."

She said all the staff members at the bakery had been concerned about the cracks in the neighbouring building.

"I noticed about three or four, but probably more, cracks in that wall. They were zigzag cracks following the mortar lines. They were up to 1.5m in length and were wide enough to see that there was no mortar."

She had also noticed a "slight lean" in the building's wall.

"We always thought if there was another big one it might not hold up."


The two storied un-reinforced masonry building at 380 Colombo St had been yellow stickered after the September earthquake, after a rapid assessment noted "minor damage to brick facade which could be damaged further in future aftershocks."

"People used to come into the shop and say 'There's cracks in that building' and we'd say 'It's yellow stickered so it must be okay'... I didn't really know what the sticker meant. I didn't know the extent of the damage," Ms Amour said.

A Building Act Notice was served on the building's owners in October which noted "significant damage to structural walls, fire walls."

The notice ordered make-safe works be completed by mid-November.

But no make-safe works were done by the owner.

On February 22, the south wall of 382 Colombo St collapsed through the roof of the single- storey Tasty Tucker Bakery, which had been green stickered since September.

The owner of the Tasty Tuckery Bakery building, Steven Jarm, said neither the city council, or the owners of 382 Colombo St, had given him any warning that the neighbouring building posed any danger.

A representative for the building's owner, engineers, and representatives from the city council will give evidence this afternoon.