Cause of leak investigated

INVESTIGATIONS are continuing into Tuesday’s gas leak at Longstone Street - which saw 30 homes evacuated.

Speaking soon after the gas leak was discovered David Heyburn, NIFRS District Commander, said: “Gas has found its way into a number of homes and businesses and will have to be vented away.”

It is understood the leak was caused by a broken natural gas pipeline and Phoenix Gas technicians were tasked to the scene.

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Simon Little, Phoenix Communications Manager, said: “Investigations are ongoing into an electrical cable fault underground that damaged a natural gas pipeline.

“As a precautionary measure the emergency services temporarily evacuated properties in the immediate area whilst our gas engineers worked to isolate the gas supply.”

Alliance Lisburn South Councillor Stephen Martin hailed the resilience of local residents and the response of all emergency services on hand following the gas leak.

He said: “To see the damage caused in the daylight brings home just how dangerous a situation the emergency services were confronted with on Tuesday evening.

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“Residents evacuated due to the gas leak displayed remarkable patience and resilience. Those asked to stay indoors and close all windows co-operated fully with the authorities in what were a very worrying few hours.

“I understand from Phoenix Gas that they believe underground electrical cables may have damaged their 50 inch gas pipe.

“Investigations are underway as to how this could have occurred and what measures are required to prevent a similar incident in future. As of Wednesday afternoon, Phoenix Gas engineers are still on site working to fix the problem.

“I will be following up with Phoenix Gas to ensure that we are made aware of how this could have happened.”

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Mr Martin added: “We are very lucky that we are not dealing with a far worse outcome. The area is both commercial and residential on a main traffic thoroughfare.

“Praise must be given to all emergency services who worked speedily to control the situation and keep local residents informed. Thanks must also be given to Council staff who worked to ensure that those who had to leave their homes were accommodated for at the Leisureplex.”

Following the discovery of Tuesday’s leak the area was closed to traffic and people moved to a safe distance - with a 75 metre cordon set up.

Gas engineers attended and repaired a medium pressure leak. Fire crews remained at the scene, monitoring gas levels, for over 11 hours to ensure a safe outcome. No injuries were reported.

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