September 21 2014 Latest news:
Saturday, May 17, 2014
Up to 100 people had to be evacuated from their Lowestoft homes yesterday after a car crashed into a house and prompted fears it could cause a gas explosion.
Police and firefighters evacuated the homes in Bevan Street West a silver Mitsubishi Colt with three people inside had crashed into a terraced hose in Bevan Street West, Lowestoft, at around 4.50pm.
They were concerns the car had hit a gas main leading to fears from firefighters that it would create an “explosive atmosphere”.
There were also fears the two-storey house would collapse.
But people were allowed to return to their homes after more than an hour after gas engineers and firefighters confirmed the gas main had not been hit by the car - although the vehicle had only missed it by a few millimetres according to the chief fire officer on the scene
A structural engineer also examined the property to see if it was safe.
As well as the evacuation, the emergency services treated the elderly female occupant of the home and the driver of the vehicle, which also had a passenger in.
None of the three people were believed to have been seriously injured.
Three fire engines were sent to Bevan Street West and fire crews had dealt with the incident by 7pm, including moving the car out of the badly damaged home.
Paul Dennison, station commander at Lowestoft south fire station, said; “We had a report of a road traffic collision. One vehicle had gone into the front of the house and one person was trapped in the car.
“There was one occupant in the house. She did not have any injuries but was shaken. There was the potential of a gas leak and of collapse due to the damage caused.
“There was the potential for an explosive atmosphere.
“We made the area safe and there was about 40 homes, 80 to 100 people, evacuated.
“The car missed the gas main by only a few millimetres - it could have been disastrous.”
The elderly occupant of the home was taken away in a car by friends or family.
Chris Brown, 23, lives two doors down from the house hit by the car with his girlfriend Lorna Gallacher.
He said: “I was in the shower and I heard a big indescribable noise. I looked out of a window and could see the emergency services and then I was told to get out of the house. I grabbed our dog and puppy and dashed out.
“You don’t think you would see a car go into the middle of a house in this street. It is pretty unbelievable.”
One male passenger was taken to hospital with a suspected back injury, another was treated for shock and the third suffered whiplash, Suffolk Constabulary said.