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Gas firm apologises for leak chaos after hundreds were evacuated

Roads closed and theatres evacuated in latest pipe rupture

06 April, 2018 — By Heather Kroeker

St Martin’s Lane this week. Photo: @grahambrown999

A PRIVATE gas company has apologised after hundreds of people were evacuated from Covent Garden because of a gas leak – for the second time in a week.

Cadent Gas said it was important “to keep people safe” while it worked on broken pipes in St Martin’s Lane on Tuesday.

The area was still closed to traffic between the lane and Garrick Street yesterday (Thursday) and the company was reporting the works could take another “few days” to complete.

Several residential and office buildings were evacuated while audiences at the English National Opera’s La Traviata and the Noël Coward Theatre’s Quiz, the play, were left disappointed by show cancellations.

Theatre blogger Rev Stan said: “I just feel bad for people who came all the way to London for their night out. It’s disappointing, but there’s no point in having a go at the theatre. It was the fire services putting everyone’s health and safety first.”

The London Fire Brigade and Metropolitan Police cordoned off streets around Covent Garden at about 6pm on Tuesday. The LFB said around 1,000 people were evacuated.

The Amba Hotel was used as temporary emergency accommodation for residents and its front-of-house manager Edson Alves said that 30 rooms were allocated for people evacuated from St Martin’s Lane.

Last week the same hotel had to be evacuated because of another gas leak. Cadent Gas has been involved in numerous gas-line problems since the beginning of the year, including a leak in Pimlico on January 9 that left more than 200 people displaced for two days. Another one of Cadent’s gas mains in The Strand ruptured on January 2.

Cadent Gas said: “We are sorry for any inconvenience caused. However, to keep people safe it is important we fix these leaks. We’d like to thank people for bearing with us.”

A Westminster Council statement said: “We were informed of a gas leak affecting businesses and some residential properties in the St Martin’s Lane area on Tuesday April 3. We have now been informed by Cadent Gas that following Tuesday’s leak in the St Martin’s Lane area, cordons have now been lifted and residents are allowed back to their premises. Cadent Gas remain on-site and are working to resolve the problem.”

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