loading...

06 January 2021 10:35

Crawley County Mall Shopping Centre Gatwick Airport

Hundreds were evacuated from their homes (Picture: Eddie Mitchell) Hundreds of people have been evacuated from flats in West Sussex after a significant gas leak caused police to declare a 'major incident'. People were urged to stay away from the large block of flats in Melton Mount Avenue, Crawley, after the gas leak was reported at around 12.21am, with around 700 residents evacuated and placed in temporary accommodation. The incident caused 'huge disruption' as Sussex Police said work to get everyone back home 'may take several hours yet'. Detective chief superintendent Steve Rayland said: 'This is an ongoing incident which has caused huge disruption to hundreds of people on a cold January morning, and I'd like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we continue to work with our partners to minimise the ongoing disruption. Advertisement 'We are working hard to ensure this is dealt with as soon as possible to enable everyone to return home, however this may take several hours yet.

'We are urging everyone to stay away from the area to allow the responding agencies to focus on resolving the incident to allow residents to return home.' People were urged to stay away from the building (Credits: Eddie Mitchell) A major incident was declared by police (Picture: Eddie Mitchell) He said the cause of the gas leak has not yet been determined but is 'not believed to be criminal', adding that more information will be released when possible. Resident Leah Hicklin said she was evacuated at 1.30am but said that others were still being led from the building at 4am. She told the BBC: 'We thought it was only something minor until they started evacuating the minor floors and then I was the top floor and I could smell gas. 'So they slowly but surely evacuated every single one of us. Some are in hotels, some are at family, some people really didn't know where they were going.

They've left pets behind and whatnot.' The force is working with West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, South East Coast Ambulance Service, West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council and Southern Gas to handle the 'major incident'. Get in touch with our news team by emailing us at [email protected] For more stories like this, check our news page. Advertisement Advertisement Hundreds of people in West Sussex were forced to evacuate their homes overnight following a gas leak that was declared a "major incident". As many as 700 people were forced to leave their homes and move into temporary accommodation after the incident unfolded in the early hours of Wednesday morning, Sussex Police said.

In a statement, the police department said the gas leak had initially been reported at around 12.21am, with a number of agencies, including fire and ambulance services responding. No injuries were reported. "This is an ongoing incident which has caused huge disruption to hundreds of people on a cold January morning, and I'd like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we continue to work with our partners to minimise the ongoing disruption," Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland said in a statement. "We are working hard to ensure this is dealt with as soon as possible to enable everyone to return home, however this may take several hours yet. In the meantime, we are urging everyone to stay away from the area to allow the responding agencies to focus on resolving the incident to allow residents to return home," he said. It is still unclear what caused the gas leak, but Mr Rayland said investigators did not believe the cause "to be criminal". Please enter your email address Please enter a valid email address Please enter a valid email address SIGN UP Thanks for signing up to the News newsletter {{#verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} {{^verifyErrors}} {{message}} {{/verifyErrors}} The Independent would like to keep you informed about offers, events and updates by email, please tick the box if you would like to be contacted Read our full mailing list consent terms here The Independent would like to keep you informed about offers, events and updates by email, please tick the box if you would like to be contacted Read our full mailing list consent terms here CHRISTMAS may be over, but people in some parts of Sussex woke up to a festive scene this morning as snow covered cars, gardens and more. A blanket of the white stuff fell across Crowborough overnight with further snowfall reported in the town this morning. Phil Morphew captured a couple of centimetres of snow which had settled on top of vans at the Royal Mail's Crowborough Delivery Office. Snow at the Royal Mail Crowborough Delivery Office this morning Credit: Phil Morphew A photograph from Phil Blackwell (at the bottom of the page) showed how snow had also settled in the town centre, off the A26. And Argus reader Heidi Schleider enjoyed some heavier snowfall which covered her garden this morning. Snow in Crowborough this morning Credit: Heidi Schlieder The white stuff was also seen further west, in Gatwick, in the early hours. Gatwick Police shared an image of snow falling in the area shortly after 6am. It's cold out there this morning with a light dusting of snow. #Csection CP082 pic.twitter.com/tZ4UW3VOUs — Gatwick Police (@GatwickPolice) January 6, 2021 A force spokesman said: "It's cold out there this morning with a light dusting of snow. If you have to drive today, take extra care. There are currently no Met Office weather warnings in place in the south of England for the remainder of the week. Yellow weather warnings for ice issued by the weather service only stretch as far south as Nottingham, affecting areas in the north of England, Scotland and Northern Ireland. Snow in Crowborough captured by Phil Blackwell this morning Temperatures in Brighton are expected to stay between 2C and 5C during a cold Wednesday. After rain this morning, there is a less than 10 per cent chance of precipitation in the city for the rest of the day, the Met Office has predicted.