VIDEO: Sheffield residents feared explosion during early morning gas leak evacuation
Shocked residents feared an explosion as they were evacuated out of their beds in the middle of the night due to a major gas leak.
As many as 60 people - including pensioners aged in their 80s, a wheelchair user and children - were evacuated from their homes in Shiregreen in the early hours of this morning following reports of a 'hissing' sound and a foul smell of gas after workmen hit a pipe.
READ MORE: Council contractors blamed for major gas leak in Sheffield streetPolice knocked loudly on the doors of about a dozen homes in Hatfield House Lane and Winkley Terrace at about 3.30am warning residents to leave the area immediately.
A refuge base was set up in the nearby Concord Sports Centre where residents have been gathered since the evacuation. They have been told it could be another 24 hours until they can return to their homes.
A number of bleary-eyed residents told how they initially feared there could be an explosion during the mass evacuation.
Retired nurse Robert Blackett, aged 80, said: "We were asleep when we got a knock on the door from the police.
READ MORE: Homes evacuated in Sheffield after major gas leak"We were stunned and wondered what was going on. We put on whatever clothes we could get and left right away.
"Then when we heard it was a gas leak we were very worried. You never know with gas and looking back you fear you could have lost everything."
His wife Gwen, aged 80, added: "I switched the light on and then I thought straight away I'd better turn it off again due to the electric giving off a spark. It was so unexpected, you never think it will happen to you."
Mark Myers, aged 55, added: "You fear the worst with things like that. There was a loud hissing sound for a couple of hours, I couldn't get to sleep, and you could really smell the gas coming in through your window."
Road resurfacing work was being carried out on Hatfield House Lane yesterday as part of Sheffield Council's city-wide road improvement programme. Contractors accidentally hit a gas pipe causing the leak.
Fred Hinchliffe, aged 74, said: "They should have been more careful and checked thoroughly where the gas pipes were. They were using a huge machine to rip up the road and I don't think the pipes are that deep underneath."
A spokesperson for gas company Cadent said: "In the early hours of this morning third party contractors carrying out work to the road in Hatfield House Lane damaged one of our gas mains. We are currently on site and are doing all we can to resolve things as soon as possible."
Police sealed off the road and warned people to stay away from the area. Buses have also been diverted.
READ MORE: Police urge people to stay away from Sheffield street after gas leakMizan Rouf, an emergency liaison officer for Sheffield Council who has been helping residents at the sports centre, said he had been told it could be anywhere between two hours and 24 hours until residents will be allowed to return home.
He gave reassurances that the authority is doing "everything they can" to support residents and added that the council would look at providing temporary accommodation for those affected if the problem cannot be resolved quickly.
Andrea Wood, aged 57, said: "It's inconvenient, nobody wants this to happen to them. But they have given us bacon sandwiches and drinks and kept us informed.
"We do want to get back as soon as possible though."
Darren Butt, account director for Amey, which is delivering the council's roads improvement programme, said: "Whilst carrying out our road resurfacing work on Hatfield House Lane last night apparatus connected to a gas pipe was damaged which led to a gas leak occurring.
"This is regrettable and we immediately called the emergency National Gas Network and they are currently on site dealing with the situation. We are working with National Gas Network and South Yorkshire Police to ensure that nearby residents remain safe during this time.
"We are sorry for any inconvenience or stress this incident has caused to those living nearby.
"We are undertaking a full investigation into the incident with our supply chain and are working closely with National Gas Network. It is anticipated that Hatfield House Lane will remain closed until the area until it is completely safe.”