100 evacuated from store after major gas leak

Firefighters raced to the scene after receiving the call at around 1.15pm
Firefighters raced to the scene after receiving the call at around 1.15pm
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A BUSY supermarket, doctor’s surgery and an industrial estate all had to be evacuated following a major gas leak in Musselburgh.

Tesco at Mall Avenue, Musselburgh Primary Care Centre and Inveresk Industrial Estate were emptied by emergency workers after a strong smell of gas was detected at 1pm yesterday.

The alert was caused after building contractors carrying out excavation work nearby damaged a pipe. Firefighters raced to the scene and police immediately erected a cordon closing off Bridge Street, Eskview and Mall Avenue.

The decision to close the industrial estate arose due to the wind blowing a large gas cloud in its direction. An 18-year-old Tesco worker suffered a panic attack, while over a hundred staff and customers fled the store. She said: “I was standing by the tills when everybody began to get a really strong smell of gas. It came from the building site next door. The bosses told everybody to evacuate the store, this is when I began to suffer a panic attack. I spent over an hour in the ambulance. I’m still feeling a little bit sick but getting better.”

Tesco shopper Craig Heaslip, 32, from Liberton, was filling his car with fuel when the call to evacuate was announced.

He said: “The shop assistants told us that there was a gas leak and everybody had to evacuate. The fire engines and police then came swarming in. It’s mad how quickly the entire place just emptied.”

The alert was caused by Hart Builders, which was carrying out initial work on a £2.6 million development for Dunedin Canmore Housing Association at Eskmills. Damage was caused by a digger to a medium-pressure gas mains outside Tesco. The contractor, which is owned by the Cruden Group, declined to comment.

A Tesco spokesperson said: “We evacuated our store on the advice of the fire service. We hope to reopen as soon as possible, once the site is fully safe, and apologise to our customers for any inconvenience caused.”

More than 50 engineers from Scotia Gas Networks were immediately at the scene to temporarily cap the flow of gas from the pipe, and assurances were given that domestic customers would not suffer a loss of supply.

A spokesperson for Scotland Gas Networks, Anne Neilson, said: “Our engineers are attending the scene of damage to our gas network at the entrance to the Tesco store in Musselburgh. We will be working throughout the night to secure the leak and repair the damaged section of main.”

If anyone has any gas safety concerns they should call the National Gas Emergency Number, 0800 111 999.