Dozens of families in Portsmouth evacuated amid gas leak fears

Hawthorn Crescent was evacuated after a suspected gas leak  PICTURE: Google
Hawthorn Crescent was evacuated after a suspected gas leak PICTURE: Google
Picture: Malcolm Wells

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SCORES of residents and young children were evacuated from a block of flats in Portsmouth last night amid fears of a suspected gas leak.

The emergency took place in Hawthorn Crescent, Cosham.

People living in the street say they were left stranded in the cold for hours after being evacuated.

Josephine Bridges, 63, was forced to flea the building with her two grandchildren, Taiya-Mia Lees, 14, and Marni-Jo Schindler, three.

The grandmother said she was alerted to the emergency just after 5pm.

‘My granddaughter’s friend came up and said there was a man going door to door telling us we have got to evacuate,’ she said.

‘I had my three-year-old granddaughter as well as my other granddaughter but we had nowhere to go.

‘We had to sit at the bus stop in the freezing cold for hours. It was just awful.’

She added: ‘There was a baby that was only 12 weeks old that was evacuated.’

After several hours, the residents were eventually led to the warmth of the nearby Highbury Community Centre.

Kirsty Lees, 33, criticised the response, saying could have been more organised.

‘I think it was disgusting leaving people out in the cold,’ she said.

‘If you’re going to evacuate somewhere there has to be a place for people to go.’

Residents were eventually allowed to re-enter the building at about 11pm.