Published: 11:15, 03 August 2017 |
Updated: 15:21, 03 August 2017
Residents have been forced out of their homes after a gas pipe caught fire.
Contractors were carrying out road works when they cut through a gas pipe in Lympne, near Hythe, leaving firefighters battling the blaze.
Fifteen people have been evacuated from their homes and taken in by neighbours, the fire service said.
Affinity Water, the company responsible for the works, recently came under criticism after one of its mains water pipes burst, flooding homes in Folkestone.
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Firefighters at the scene in Stone Street set up a cordon around properties after the leak was discovered at around 10.30am.
Lympne residents today called the flaming gas pipe a "disaster".
Carole Abbott, who lives a stone's throw away in Harman Avenue, said: "Our gas has been cut off, we can't use the heating or the oven.
"This whole thing is a disaster, you can't find words to describe it, this is going to put us out a fair bit.
"This is diabolical."
Jamie Regan, 21, who lives directly opposite the Stone Street blaze, told how he was evacuated by firefighters.
He said: "I was watching Game of Thrones, there was a knock at the door and I was told I needed to get out.
"I didn't know what to expect, it's the first time anything like this has happened here, I have never seen anything like it.
"I heard a digger was digging up the road, firefighters said the gas mains were hit.
"My grandad is coming to pick me up now."
Gas engineers are now in attendance and dealing with the problem as five homes were evacuated as a precaution.
A spokesman for Southern Gas Networks (SGN) said: "One of our gas service pipes was damaged by a third party in Stone Street.
"It's a small gas pipe which takes it from the mains pipe to a customer's property.
"That caught fire and we worked with the fire service who put out the fire and we isolated the gas supply and turned it off to the property."
The gas company maintained one house was directly affected, and service should be restored at the end of the day.
An investigation is now due to be launched to find out what happened to cause the leak, SGN confirmed.
A total of seven firefighters worked in the road, burning off excess gas as residents looked on.
Kent Fire and Rescue Service (KFRS) said road workers cut through the gas pipe.
The contractors were working for Affinity Water carrying out water mains renewal work, which is due to last until October.
A spokesman for KFRS said: "There is no specific safety advice, as all residents within the area affected have been removed to safety and are with neighbours."
Crews in two fire engines have been sent to make the scene safe.
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