Nearly 700 people were ordered to evacuate their flats in Crawley, West Sussex, earlier this morning following a ‘major incident’ with a gas leak.
It was shortly before 12.30am when emergency services received reports of a gas leak at a residential high rise block of flats on Milton Mount Avenue, Pound Hill, Crawley.
Information from Southern Gas Network indicated that a significant leak of natural gas had occurred.
Sussex Police and other emergency services attended the scene. Crawley Borough Council decided to declare a ‘local authority major incident’.
In a joint statement, West Sussex County Council (WSCC) and West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said: “Staff worked together to manage the safe evacuation of around 700 residents from the building. Residents were supported by staff from WSCC’s Adults Services team to ensure all welfare needs were met.
“A multi-agency approach has been developed to support the temporary relocation of affected residents, this includes the transportation of residents to temporary accommodation whilst maintaining Covid-19 precautions.”
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. 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.”
Sussex Police said the exact cause of the gas leak is yet to be determined but is not believed to be criminal.
ELN has contacted Southern Gas Network for a response.
A major incident has been declared following a gas leak at a block of flats in Milton Mount Avenue, Crawley.
Approximately 700 residents have been safely evacuated as we continue to work with partner agencies at the scene.
— Sussex Police (@sussex_police) January 6, 2021