NEIGHBOURS were forced out of their homes after a gas leak closed a town centre road last night.
Police sealed off part of South Street in Gosport after people living nearby reported smelling gas at around 6pm.
A dozen people who live in the flats above the shops between the A32 Mumby Road and Creek Road were evacuated for the night.
Southern Gas Networks brought in a digger to try and find exactly where the leak was.
Workers were digging into the street throughout the night in a bid to stop it.
Ross Hazzard, 29, was one of the people evacuated from the flats in South Street.
Speaking in the street outside his home last night he said: ‘I came home at around 6pm and as I was going inside I said I could smell gas.
‘The people in the shops downstairs could smell it too but decided to wait a little bit to see if it just disappeared.
‘It was quite strong and people were quite worried.
‘We’ve been outside for hours now but we know they’re doing everything they can.’
Emergency planning officers from Gosport Borough Council were called in.
They opened up the town hall, in the nearby High Street, for people to sit in the warm.
When it became clear the work would have to continue throughout the night, the council arranged for the evacuated residents to be taken by taxi to some overnight accommodation.
The Salvation Army also turned out to provide hot drinks.
Firefighters from Gosport fire station were also called to the scene and remained on standby.
Stevyn Ricketts, the head of the Streetscene department at Gosport’s council, said: ‘Everyone has been very good-natured about what’s going on.
‘Our job is to help the emergency services and the gas company.
‘Obviously we’re keeping an eye on those who have been evacuated and we will help them in any way we can.’
Workers from Southern Gas Networks were still working in the early hours of this morning.
Officers from Hampshire Constabulary were also guarding the area.