Pianist saved by Rolling Stones 

Collapse of Murphy bed could have been the end of Doc Fingers

Call it Murphy's Law.

Pianist Bruce Gallagher, better known as Doc Fingers to frequenters of Il Caminetto di Umberto, was tossing and turning in bed on the morning of July 19. He had just finished watching the Rolling Stones documentary "Shine a Light" and couldn't make himself fall asleep.

It was about 4:15 a.m. when he heard a loud crack and a bang in his Murphy bed, the kind you raise up and fold into a cabinet against a wall.

Thinking it was an earthquake, he got up still wearing his sleeping mask. With two feet on the floor to rise from the bed, he could see just enough out of one eye to notice the cabinet leaning off the wall and quickly falling towards him.

Gallagher leapt out of the bed and tried to stop the cabinet from falling but it was just too heavy. It came crashing down, crushing the bed just seconds after he noticed it was falling.

"I started to think what would have happened if my girlfriend was sleeping next to me," he wrote in an e-mail to Pique . "I consider myself to be extremely fortunate that I was not quite asleep and woke up just in time to leap out of bed when the Murphy cabinet came crashing down on me."

Gallagher found himself in a daze the next day, unable to shake his "brush with death." Even the strength of two men couldn't lift the cabinet and they only freed the bed by taking the cabinet apart.

"If I had been pinned underneath I would have either been killed outright or badly injured, depending on where the shelves on the cabinet struck," he wrote. "If one had hit my head and another my throat for instance I would not be talking to you now."

Gallagher has been a resident of a studio apartment at Market Pavilion on Main Street for about three and a half months. He pays $1,450 a month to live there and is warning all residents of the building to be extremely careful with the beds.

"When I moved in it was a bit loose and it looked like it was coming off the wall a little bit," he said. "It looked like it was made shoddily."

The building is managed by Mountain Country Property Management, which specializes in long-term rental management for Whistler and often acts on behalf of property owners who are typically non-residents of Whistler.

"Generally speaking, an occurrence such as this is extraordinary and it is fortunate no one was injured," owner Gord Low said in an e-mail. "When something like this occurs, it is reported to appropriate property owners and in most instances strata managers.

"Obviously, steps are taken to determine the cause and prevent such problems from recurring, as the safety and security of any occupant is important."

Gallagher has come forward with his near-death experience because he's worried about the same thing happening to other tenants.

"As I walk down the hallway from time to time doors are open, people are cleaning, I peeked in to see what the units look like," he said. "I've seen quite a few of those Murphy beds, they look like they were built by the same guy but I couldn't say for sure."

Today he's thankful to Keith Richards and the Rolling Stones for saving his life - if he hadn't been so transfixed by the documentary he thinks he could have been killed.

"If I hadn't stayed up for two hours watching the Rolling Stones, I would have been asleep and that thing would have come down and killed me," he said. "The Rolling Stones saved Doc Fingers' life."

As of late Tuesday morning he's received no compensation or apology from his landlord.

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