Houses evacuated in gas blast scare

DOZENS of residents were evacuated from their homes after a gas leak.

Around 20 homes were evacuated in Milne Walk, in the Owton Manor area of Hartlepool, shortly before 9pm yesterday due to a leaking gas pipe at the front of a house.

Fire chiefs put up the cordon after initial fears that it could explode.

In a separate incident three houses had to be evacuated in Intrepid Close, Seaton Carew, after two cars and a camper van caught fire on a drive.

An investigation has been launched by police and fire chiefs into the incident at 11.30pm last night.

In Milne Walk, residents had to leave their homes for more than an hour before being allowed to return.

The leak was caused after a recycling container outside the front of the house caught fire and the flames spread to the gas pipe.

The heat caused a joint to crack and gas started leaking out.

Crews from Stranton Fire Station were alerted after the homeowner, a woman in her 20s, poured water on the fire and called for help.

Firefighters were put on protective stand-by until the gas was turned off.

The incident happened at 8.50pm yesterday and the cause is now under investigation.

The fire in Intrepid Close last night started in a BMW car and spread to an adjacent camper van and Peugeot car.

Three properties in the cul-de-sac were evacuated for about an hour due to fears that a propane cylinder inside the camper van could explode.

Fire chiefs spent an hour at the scene putting out the fire and cooling the propane cylinder.

The alarm was raised by a mum and son, who were inside the house at the time.

No-one was injured in the incident, which is now subject to a joint investigation by police and fire.