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Homes evacuated after Ilminster gas leak
11:40am Friday 7th September 2012 in News
FAMILIES were evacuated from their homes in Ilminster on Friday night because of fears of a gas explosion.
The alarm was raised just before 10.30pm after a silver Renault Clio collided with a wall near the junction of Winterhay Lane and Station Road, opposite the Texaco garage, and a gas main was ruptured.
Police attended the scene along with fire and ambulance services and people living in the neighbourhood were evacuated.
Engineers from the gas board made the leak safe at about 1am. David Hancock, who sent in photos of the incident, seen in this week's News, said: “The police cordoned off the area and people from Station Road and Winterhay Lane were evacuated.” He said people were relocated to the Shrubbery Hotel, the Stonemasons and Daido Bearings while the safety work was carried out.
A spokesman for Devon and Somerset Fire and Rescue Service said two fire engines and a rescue tender attended the incident.
Among those evacuated were Ilminster couple Jim and Chris Sainsbury, who live in Station Road.
Mr Sainsbury said: “My wife first heard a loud whistling at about 10.30pm and when she looked out of the window there were blue flashing lights, so we ventured outside to investigate.
“Even in our garden there was a strong smell of gas and we were advised at about 11pm that people were to be evacuated – in our case to the Shrubbery Hotel.
“A good number of our neighbours arrived at the Shrubbery and the hotel’s Stuart Shepherd generously provided coffee and shelter to us.”
Mr Shepherd also offered accommodation to anyone who needed it but by 1.30am the evacuees were allowed home.
A police spokesman told the News on Monday that no action had been taken against the driver of the Renault Clio.