Estate in gas leak drama

Harold Hill residents were on red alert on Tuesday after a gas leak caused by a damaged gas main.

People living in Dagnam Park Drive, Hilldene Avenue and Gooshays Drive were forced to stay in their homes and to close their windows after the incident on Tuesday September 7 from about 3am to 7am.

Crews from Harold Hill fire station received a call at around 3.30am to reports of the smell of gas at the Central Park Leisure Centre in Gooshays Drive, Harold Hill, but when they arrived they were met by three men who led them to roadworks in Dagnam Park Drive.

Red Watch Manager, Roy Turp said: “We turned up to the road works and as we got near we could hear and smell the huge amount of gas escaping.”

Firefighters then alerted the police who set up a 200 metre exclusion zone because of the risk of explosion.

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An engineer from National Grid arrived at 4.15am and was able to make the area safe and to replace the gas main.

The incident is thought to have happened after part of a gas main in a excavated trench became damaged possibly because of the heavy rain.

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National Grid have been carrying out work in Harold Hill replacing 4.4km of metallic gas mains which has seen work on the mains in Straight Road since April.

But there have been complaints from residents over the length of time the work is taking and the disruption caused.

Heaton Ward councillor, Denis O’ Flynn, (Lab) said: “People have been left with the headache of traffic congestion going to work in the mornings and in the evening coming home and cluttered up foot paths, doorways and garden gates leading to extreme difficulties for elderly people.”

A National Grid spokesman said: “The work is currently running to schedule and we expect to complete the project in the spring.

“We always expected that the project would take time due to the length of gas mains being replaced and their position. All work has been agreed with the London Borough of Havering.

“We apologise for any inconvenience and we will do our utmost to minimise any inconvenience and to ensure that the work is completed as promptly and safely as possible.”

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