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Gas leak in Enfield Town after workers hit main only two inches below road surface
Neighbours say "everyone pulled together" last night when they were evacuated from their homes due to a major gas leak.
Enfield Borough Council contractors were resurfacing St Andrew's Road when they struck an "unexpectedly shallow" gas main, which was fitted approximately two inches below the road surface.
Police arrived in force to wake everyone living in the Enfield Town street from 12.30am, where they were taken to Enfield Civic Centre and provided with blankets and hot drinks.
Approximately 180 people evacuated were not allowed home until after 6am once the leak was fixed.
Paul Jones, 47, who lives in St Andrew’s Road, was evacuated with his mother and sister.
He said: “It was annoying obviously because I wanted to be asleep but to be honest I think most people just wanted to be safe.”
However, he said “everyone pulled together” and he enjoyed seeing neighbours he had not seen for a long time.
He said there was a real sense of community spirit as people waited to return home, and said families were kept in the loop as how the work was progressing.
Enfield Town was blocked off within a mile radius of the gas leak, and Enfield Town train station was also closed while emergency repairs were underway.
Viktor Tobin, 72, said he heard a “terrible noise” outside but believed it was work on the road which had started the previous night.
He said him and his wife slept through calls from the police, and it was not until approximately 3am when they were finally woken to knocking on the door after neighbours told police they were sleeping inside.
Mr Tobin, who believes they were the last people to be evacuated from the street, said it is “disgusting” to hear the gas main is so low beneath the road’s surface.
Adriana de Souza, who has lived in St Andrew’s Road for 20 years, said the evacuation was “surreal” and “was like a film”.
She said: “Some of the neighbours took their dogs. I kept thinking ‘if my house explodes it would be horrendous.’ I was thinking ‘do I take my cat?’”
Another neighbour, who wished to remain anonymous, was evacuated with his girlfriend.
He said he could not sleep last night because the drilling from the road work was so loud, and has taken a day off from work today due to lack of sleep.
He said: “We were so angry that they were drilling constantly. I never heard in my life that people were working in an area where people are living in.
“If I listened to music loudly in my car I would be arrested.”
A statement from the council said: "The gas main was unexpectedly shallow below the road surface potentially leaving it open to damage from heavy vehicles traversing the road, we would expect a gas main of this size to be at least 600mm below the road surface.
"We are already liaising with National Grid Gas to understand why the main had been installed in this way and to agree that any permanent repair will rerouted at a lower depth."
"The gas main has been made safe and the contractor was able to open the road by late morning."
The Enfield Independent is waiting for a statement from National Grid.