Gas scare evacuation in Wetherby street

wet  Gas works on Braine Road.  (130213M5)
wet Gas works on Braine Road. (130213M5)

Nine people had to be evacuated from their homes for five days after a gas leak on a Wetherby street.

The residents, from six properties on Braine Road, were forced to stay in a hotel after engineers deemed it too dangerous for them to stay in their homes last Thursday.

Braine Road pensioner Liz Welborn, who was one of those affected, said the smell of gas had been lingering for a while.

She said: “We didn’t know at first what the smell was or whether we could smell gas or not. The weather has been very windy lately and there is also some sewage around here too, so we were not sure.”

The leak was finally reported last Thursday by a neighbour and engineers attended later that day to test gas levels in the street, she said.

Ms Welborn, who stayed at her son’s house, returned to her property on Monday when pipework had been repaired.

She said: “You do not want to go out of your own home but I also do not want to be blown up either, so of the two, it was an easy choice. We have been very lucky.”

The gas leak is believed to have been caused by a ruptured pipe underneath a number of the Braine Road properties.

Resident and pensioner Gwenda Wardle said the gas leak had affected a number of her elderly neighbours.

She said: “I haven’t had to be moved out but a number of my neighbours have and some of them are in poor health too.

“ My next-door neighbour is bedridden.

“It is one of those things that happens, but trust it to happen in winter and not summer when it doesn’t matter whether the heating is on or not.”

Northern Gas Networks customer operations area manager, Gary Farrnhill, said engineers had worked “around the clock” to trace the source of the problem.

He said: “We discovered that gas had travelled underneath the properties along the duct work finding its way into six properties.

“Safety is our number one priority and the decision was taken to move nine residents into a local hotel.

“We have now repaired the damaged pipework and residents have safely returned to their homes.

“We would like to thank the residents for their understanding and apologise for the inconvenience caused.”