Homes and businesses evacuated in Norton Fitzwarren over gas explosion fears (From Somerset County Gazette)
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Homes and businesses evacuated in Norton Fitzwarren over gas explosion fears
Updated 5:06pm Tuesday 1st April 2014 in News
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- Dozens of people evacuated.
- People told to leave homes, while businesses also evacuated.
- Gas mains fire broke out at 12.10pm outside the shop and post office.
- Road into Norton closed from Cross Keys roundabout.
- Cordon in village reduced at around 1.40pm and some people gradually allowed to return home.
THE road through the village has re-opened and vehicles can now access the B3227 via the Cross Keys roundabout.
DEVON and Somerset Fire has just put out the following update:
"One elderly resident received oxygen therapy from the fire crews as he had breathing difficulties and was taken to hospital by an ambulance.
"A safety check was made of the area before the Taunton appliances left the scene. The road remained closed until shortly after 4pm."
MALCOLM Anderson, who lives at Bay House, sent this photo he took when the fire started. He said he was out of his house for 3½ hours and helped out at the village hall.
Mr Anderson added: "I had only been in the shop that morning and saw the contractors working outside. I was in my driveway about to go to the shop when it the fire started.
"Those in the shop didn’t even know what was going on and it was still open. I went to get my neighbour who has breathing and walking difficulties.
"He opened the door and the flames were just to his left. He got out of his house and had to be taken to hospital but is back home now.
"When we were first told to evacuate my initial feeling was panic. We had a gas leak about five years ago and didn’t have to evacuate so I thought this must have been serious."
DUNCAN and Becky Brown, above, were two of those evacuated from their home.
Duncan said: "We were just pottering around the house and I saw police cars going by before one stopped at the bottom of our drive.
"They were knocking on doors telling people there had been a fire and to get out. We were out of our house for about 45 minutes."
FIRE crews at the scene said the fire broke out in the middle of the roadworks which are currently happening outside McColl's.
Some people reported seeing flames. The fire is out but firefighters are currently damping the area down.
THE cordon, which was just before the fish and chip shop, has been reduced and is now at Bay House.
People are now being allowed to gradually return to their homes while fire crews fill in the hole dug up while isolating the gas supply.
A SPOKESPERSON from Norton Fitzwarren School said that there is no threat to the children and that the school remains open.
TRAFFIC heading into Norton Fitzwarren from the Cross Keys roundabout direction is being turned around.
A cordon is in place further into the village.
This is the scene at Norton Fitzwarren. Homes evacuated due to gas mains fire http://t.co/OlRYJFQnbC— @GazetteMMarsh 01 April 2014
DEVON and Somerset Fire and Rescue says firefighters from Taunton are dealing with the incident, having been called out at around 12.10pm.
A fire service spokesman said: "One hose reel jet, a safety jet and a gas detector are in use at present.
"The road has been closed to all traffic and a 250m exclusion zone set up.
"Police are evacuating the area and Transco are in attendance."
SEVERAL homes and businesses are currently being evacuated in Norton Fitzwarren due to a gas main fire.
Police said people living 200 yards either side of the McColl's store are being asked to leave their homes.
Some firms on the trading estate may also have to evacuate, a spokesman said.
There are also road closures at Rectory Road and Blackdown Road and a police helicopter is circling.
More to follow...
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