Buildings evacuated in major gas leak in Liverpool

Moss Street
Image caption Police helped evacuate nearby flats and offices

Hundreds of people have had to leave buildings in Liverpool city centre following a major gas leak caused by a ruptured pipe.

Offices and student flats were evacuated in London Road after the leak happened at 13:50 GMT near Moss Street.

It later emerged an electricity cable had burnt through a gas main while work took place near a disused pub.

The Royal Liverpool University Hospital was not affected and ambulances were able to operate despite road closures.

Merseyside Fire and Rescue incident commander John O'Boyle said: "The pipe was ruptured by workmen and there was a concern about gas leaking from the basement.

"Of course the combination of gas and electricity is not good, but there have been no reports of any injuries."

The leak has been stopped and all roads except Moss Street have been reopened, a spokeswoman for National Grid said.

Gas readings are being checked at evacuated properties and if they are safe, residents should be able to return later on Wednesday evening, she said.

Scottish Power still needs to do work on a cable so Moss Street will remain closed on Thursday, she added.

Image caption These students were evacuated from their homes
Image caption The site of the leak was cordoned off and public transport was affected

A 50m (165ft) cordon was placed around the site of the leak, causing traffic congestion and major disturbance to public transport.

Ambulance, fire crews and police officers attended as well as staff from the National Grid and British Gas Transco.

A hospital spokesman said: "Traffic to and from the hospital is particularly heavy so we are encouraging visitors and relatives to leave extra time for their journey.

"Traffic diversions and additional parking arrangements are in place currently for those visiting at the hospital until further notice."

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