Huge gas leak will take days to fix as 3,500 homes remain without supply

Emergency services in the village of Fishcross as a gas leak cut supplies to homes in Fishcross, Dollar and Tillicoultry.
Emergency services in the village of Fishcross as a gas leak cut supplies to homes in Fishcross, Dollar and Tillicoultry.
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ALMOST 3,500 householders in Clackmannanshire spent a second night without gas supply as engineers continued to visit properties to fix the problem caused when a farmer accidentally ruptured a gas pipe.

Scotland Gas Networks (SGN) has now repaired the large pipe that burst beneath a field on Tuesday, but before it can reconnect the supply, it has to turn

off the gas at every home and property in Fishcross, Dollar and Tillicoultry.

Once the switch-off is complete, it can resume the flow of gas back through the repaired pipe before visiting the affected homes again to switch on their supply.

Last night, SGN reported that its engineers, drafted in from all over Scotland, had visited over 3,000 homes, but that it could still be several days before gas supply was returned to normal.

All customers have received a letter informing them that they will receive £30 compensation for every day without gas after the first 24 hours. However,

payment may take up to five weeks.

SGN said that as the farmer who ruptured the pipe had not notified it that he intended to do any work in the area, it had been unable to advise him of the pipe’s exact location.

Portable electric heaters and cookers have been distributed to some elderly and vulnerable people in the area and more are available at an incident centre set up in Tillicoultry community centre.

An SGN spokeswoman said it could take until the end of the week to reconnect every property: “Once again, we would ask that residents remain in their property until they’ve been visited by one of our engineers.

“If residents do need to leave their properties before giving access to our engineers, please leave a key with a neighbour, friend or family. Once the gas supply to all affected properties has been turned off, we will reintroduce gas into the network. We will then need to visit all 3,500 properties for a second time to turn the gas back on.

“We would like to thank

everyone again for their continued patience and co-operation, and reassure everyone that we are working hard to resolve this situation as quickly as possible.”

SGN said it was using locksmiths, with the support of the police, to gain access to those homes where residents were unavailable. Roads in the area have been closed, but police said homes have not been evacuated and the gas level in the air is being monitored.

Fishcross and Clackmannan primary schools were closed as a precaution on Tuesday, but only Dollar Academy remained closed yesterday.

Among those affected was Michelle Quinn, a mother of three, who lives in Tillicoultry. Her family has been staying in one room to keep warm. She said: “We lost our gas. We have no heating and I have three kids, so we are all wrapped up in


And Ms Quinn added: “We have been supplied with an emergency heater, but that won’t heat the whole house, so we will need to stay in one room to keep warm.”