Homes evacuated in Leicester streets as rusty gas pipe snaps
A student was rushed from his home after a faulty gas pipe snapped, filling his house and neighbouring properties with poisonous fumes.
The rusty pipe came away during a routine meter inspection at the house in Avon Street, Highfields, Leicester, at about 11.30am yesterday.
The engineer immediately bundled De Montfort University computer sciences student Maciej Gronowski, who was still in his pyjamas, out of the house.
Within minutes, police and fire crews were at the scene and had evacuated homes in the street, as well as those in neighbouring Welland Street and Medway Street.
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Maciej, 22, said: "I was in the kitchen and the man came up the stairs and said we had to get out of the house now.
"I was still in my pyjamas, I didn't even have time to get changed.
"The smell of gas was very strong – even when we were standing at the bottom of the road it smelled really strong.
"It must have been a very big leak."
Residents in the three streets were moved to St Peter's Road as firefighters and National Grid engineers assessed the danger.
A National Grid spokesman said the fumes had filled the student's home as well as two neighbouring properties.
Neighbour Mased Parbez, 29, was also told to leave his home as the gas from next door filled the building.
He said: "We weren't sure what was going on, but we could smell gas. We were told to get out of our house and get out of the street.
"It's the first time anything like this has happened."
Resident Samim Mieah, 26, was alerted by police who knocked at his front door a short time after the leak was reported.
He said: "It was quite scary, at first I didn't know what they wanted.
"Then I saw everyone else out in the road and they were being moved to the end of the street."
The leak had been capped by about 12.35pm, but surrounding roads remained cordoned off to cars and pedestrians.
Police also closed off St Peter's Road, St Stephen's Road and Highfields Street to traffic until about 3pm.
The National Grid spokesman said: "We capped the leak and made sure that the levels were safe enough for the residents to return to their homes."