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Gas explosion fears end

PUBLISHED: 18:58 31 August 2010 | UPDATED: 11:58 16 September 2010

RESIDENTS of a quiet Gorleston street had a dramatic day today after firefighters carried out a mass evacuation following a fire close to a gas cylinder in an offshore firm's warehouse.

RESIDENTS of a quiet Gorleston street had a dramatic day today after firefighters carried out a mass evacuation following a fire close to a gas cylinder in an offshore firm's warehouse.

A 200m zone around CLS Offshore in Malthouse Lane was cordoned off at 10am today following a fire near the highly flammable cylinder, containing acetylene gas, which triggered the evacuation of over 150 people.

Staff were evacuated from CLS Offshore and neighbouring businesses including a roofing services firm, while the 75 employees at Yarmouth Borough Council's planning offices opposite the CLS site spent the morning working from Yarmouth Town Hall.

Residents in Ferry Hill were also told about the situation and given the opportunity to leave, although their homes were outside the cordoned off zone.

Ferry Hill resident Ruth Harrison, 40, said her husband Carl, 45, was at their home, though she had gone out just as the incident was breaking to take the couple's children Beth, nine and Jamie, five swimming at the Marina Centre in Yarmouth.

A police officer called on her partner, a piano tuner, while he was working in an outbuilding at their home and told him Malthouse Lane had been cordoned off and people returning to their homes were not being allowed back in. However, Mr Harrison decided to stay.

Mrs Harrison said: “I think he was more concerned because he could not get hold of me as I had taken the children swimming.”

Firefighters initially thought the restricted zone would be in place for 24 hours, but the cordon was lifted at 2pm after a gas expert examined the cylinder and determined only the cables and external gas fittings were damaged.

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