'Major' gas leak forces more than 700 people out of their beds

‘Major’ gas leak forces more than 700 people out of their beds into freezing night air as emergency crews battle to make area safe

  • ‘Significant’ gas leak reported at a black of flats in Crawley just after midnight 
  • More than 700 residents have had to be evacuated from the apartments today 
  • The cause of the leak has been blamed on a broken pipe by engineers

More than 700 people have been evacuated from their home as police declared a ‘major incident’ following a gas leak overnight.

Families were forced out of their flats in Crawley on a freezing night, after the leak was reported just after midnight.

No injuries have been reported, while locals have been moved to temporary accommodation until the scene is safe.

Families were forced out of their flats in Crawley on a freezing night, after the leak was reported just after midnight

More than 700 people have been evacuated from their home as police declared a ‘major incident’ following a gas leak overnight (pictured this morning)

Officers at the scene say it could be ‘several hours’ before residents are able to return home. 

Sussex Police have not confirmed the source of the leak – but they do not believe it is criminal – although engineers have blamed it on a broken pipe.

Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland said: ‘This is an ongoing incident which has caused huge disruption to hundreds of people on a cold January morning, and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we continue to work with our partners to minimise the ongoing disruption.

‘We are working hard to ensure this is dealt with as soon as possible to enable everyone to return home, however this may take several hours yet. 

Dan Brown, from gas company SGN, said their engineers have found the source of the leak – a broken pipe – and repairs have been made

Sussex Police have not confirmed the source of the leak – but they do not believe it is criminal – although engineers have blamed it on a broken pipe

‘In the meantime, we are urging everyone to stay away from the area to allow the responding agencies to focus on resolving the incident to allow residents to return home.

‘The exact cause of the gas leak is yet to be determined but not believed to be criminal, and we will provide more information as soon as we are able to.’

Sussex Police are at the scene, along with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, South East Coast Ambulance Service.

Local authorities West Sussex County Council and Crawley Borough Council are also at the scene, along with Southern Gas to resolve the incident ‘as quickly and safely as possible,’ Sussex Police said this morning.

Dan Brown, from gas company SGN, said their engineers have found the source of the leak – a broken pipe – and repairs have been made.

They will remain on site throughout the day to carry out safety checks, and monitor gas readings inside the block of flats.

He said: ‘When it’s been fully ventilated we’ll be able to allow the residents to return to their properties. We’re hoping that’s something we’ll be able to do later today.’ 

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