A major incident has been declared in Sheffield after temperatures plummeted in a suburb left without gas for five days.
Around 2,000 homes in the Stannington area of the South Yorkshire city were affected on Friday when a burst water main damaged a gas pipe, sending hundreds of thousands of litres of water into the gas network.
More than 100 engineers from gas firm Cadent have been working in Stannington and neighbouring Hillsborough since the weekend, going house to house to flush water out of the system and check homes, some of which saw liquid pouring from their gas meters and appliances.
Council leader Terry Fox
As temperatures dropped below freezing on Tuesday night, Sheffield City Council said it declared a major incident so services can be concentrated on the area.
Council leader Terry Fox said: “Over the weekend we were alerted to a contained situation and have been assisting Cadent as best we can.
“Since then, the incident has progressed and spread further across the city.
“With a colder spell due in the coming days it is important we and other organisations across the city collaborate to ensure all the residents affected are provided with the support they require, especially the most vulnerable.
“By declaring a major incident, we will be better able to co-ordinate the overall response to the issues and call on additional support if needed.”
Mr Fox visited Stannington on Tuesday along with council chief executive Kate Josephs.
Ms Josephs said community buildings, including a pub, were available for those struggling to keep warm.
She told BBC Radio Sheffield: “We’d really encourage anyone who is concerned to call Cadent.
“Nobody should be sitting at home worrying about putting their heaters on.”
She added: “It is getting chilly. We’re doing everything we can and Cadent are working tirelessly through day and night to get the water out of the pipes and get the heating back on.”
Olivia Blake, Labour MP for Sheffield Hallam, said she has asked Chancellor Jeremy Hunt for emergency funding for the council.
She said: “I have further meetings planned with Yorkshire Water and I am in ongoing talks with the leadership of the council on getting support to residents.
“I have also spoken directly with the Chancellor of the Exchequer urging him to provide emergency funding to the council and have written to him formally, alongside the secretaries of state for Business, for the Environment, and for Levelling-up, to request urgent assistance.
“My heart goes out to all those affected – this is a terrible thing to happen at any time, let alone weeks before the holiday season.”
Cadent said it has already pumped more than 600,000 litres of water from its system.