UK - Gas explosion, enormous fireball in city of York street from pressure gas main : LUSENET : Grassroots Information Coordination Center (GICC) : One Thread

BBC News Online: UK

Friday, 14 January, 2000, 05:14 GMT

Street evacuated after gas explosion

More than 400 people were evacutated from their homes after a gas leak ignited and exploded into a massive fireball in a city street.

Street lighting and a pedestrian crossing were destroyed as a flames up to 40ft high swept down Rawcliffe Lane, York, on Thursday evening.

People living in the area reported smelling gas before the explosion. One person suffered minor injuries in the blaze.

About 70 people are spending the night at a local school while fire crews work to clean up.

At one point, 80 firefighters were involved in the operation to contain the high-pressure jet of burning gas.

A group of local taxi drivers arrived at the scene to help police with the evacuation.

'Higher than houses'

Firefighters doused one house near the seat of the fire with jets of water to prevent it catching alight.

"It was an enormous flame when we arrived, it was coming through a crack in the road surface and was higher than the roofs of the houses," said fire brigade spokesman Terry Glover.

Gas engineers were called to the scene to reduce the pressure in the ruptured pipeline as firefighters monitored the blaze.

Fire experts and engineers were planning to reduce the gas pressure before shutting off the pipe completely, early on Friday.

Engineers from gas company Transco said the leak originated in a medium pressure gas main in the street.

BBC News

-- Lee Maloney (, March 16, 2000

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