Evacuated after power surge sparks gas leak

Linesmen repair the electicity lines at Balcurvie after a power surge caused a gas leak.
Linesmen repair the electicity lines at Balcurvie after a power surge caused a gas leak.

AROUND 30 people were forced to evacuate their homes in Balcurvie on Saturday night after a power surge caused a gas main leak.

Fife Fire and Rescue Service – now the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service – were called to a property in Main Street at around 10.50 p.m. after a fire broke out at the gas pipe next to the owner’s cooker.

Gary and Fiona Stewart had to be evacuated from their home after a power surge caused a gas main leak.

Gary and Fiona Stewart had to be evacuated from their home after a power surge caused a gas main leak.

And, just six minutes later, they received another call from a neighbour in an adjacent property who said there was a strong smell of burning coming from their dishwasher.

Upon investigation, crews found an arcing electrical supply pylon near to the end of Main Street, and assistance was requested from Transco and Scottish Power.

A fire spokesman said: “Following advice from Transco, the senior officer made the decision to evacuate residents from Main Street and requested a third engine from Kirkcaldy to assist.

“The evacuation was jointly conducted with the police and assisted by the residents who 
exhibited a great sense of community spirit despite the late hour and very cold weather.”

Gary and Fiona Stewart were among the families evacuated.

Gary (44), a crew manager with the fire service, said he noticed things weren’t right after returning home from picking up his daughter.

“When we got in, I turned on the light and it was burning at about five times brighter than it should have been, even on the lowest setting of the dimmer switch.

“Then I heard a fizzing and banging in the kitchen – the fridge effectively blew up.”

Gary added: “Because of the power cut, people had been lighting candles so the fire service was running from door to door to make sure everything was out.”

Transco disconnected the gas main supply soon after arriving on the scene, and worked through the night to ensure all properties in the area were safe before allowing residents back into their homes.

Gary and Fiona (52), who runs the Gallacher School of Dance, were allowed to return to their home on Sunday afternoon, and power was restored in the evening.

However, things aren’t entirely back to normal yet.

“Because there was about three times the amount of voltage there should have been, the central heating control has been affected, our house alarm doesn’t work now and a couple of the televisions aren’t working either.”

Gary said that he knew of four other properties without heating, but that gas and electricity eningeers were expected to be continuing work in the area that day.