UPDATE: Blackburn homes evacuated after car pursued by police hits gas main (From Lancashire Telegraph)
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UPDATE: Blackburn homes evacuated after car pursued by police hits gas main
Updated 4:26pm Wednesday 19th February 2014 in News
HOMES in Blackburn were evacuated after a car being pursued by police smashed into a wall, hit a gas main and caused a major leak.
Residents in East Park Road were told to leave their homes after the black Ford Mondeo crashed after being signalled to stop by officers.
A 17-year-old has been arrested on suspicion of driving whilst disqualified, dangerous driving and failing to stop.
He was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital with minor injuries.
Police, firefighters and ambulance crews were called to the scene, and the road was closed between its junctions with Langham Road and Brantfell Road for around two hours.
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Faiza Saleh, 17, who lives in East Park Road, said she ran out of her house when she heard the crash.
She said: “I was in the kitchen and I heard a woman scream and a loud bang.
“I came out to look and I saw it was a dog walker who screamed. They put her in the police car for a while, she was crying.
“There was already a police car behind the car that crashed, and then more police came, and an ambulance, and then they told us to leave the house.”
Her father, Faruk Saleh, 45, was also evacuated.
He said: “They said we had to leave the house because of a gas leak.
“I think the car hit a gas pipe. They said don’t use the front door, use the back door.”
Another resident, Hussain Akhtar, rushed to the scene when he heard the car smash into the wall.
He said: “I heard it and I went to see what had happened.
“I saw the police and the car, and the fire engines came right away.
“It’s not the first crash that’s happened here, we’ve had a few in this area.
“We’ve been campaigning about the road for a long, long time.”
Zohra Mohammed, 58, of nearby Langham Road, said: “I was on my way back from taking my mum to the hospital for a check-up, and I had to take a detour to come back.
“This is the third time accidents have taken place here, and it’s worrying because the park is just around the corner so there are always a lot of families with children in the area.”
Noorie Essa, 50, who lives in East Park Road, was also evacuated. She said the crash site was known locally as an accident blackspot.
She said: “It’s a big issue, we’re so scared for our children.”
A police spokeswoman said: “Around 10.50am yesterday (tue) a Ford Mondeo was requested to stop by police but failed to do so. Moments later it collided with a wall on East Park Road in Blackburn.
“The driver of the vehicle has been taken to hospital with minor injuries and has been arrested on suspicion of driving whist disqualified, dangerous driving and failing to stop.
“No other vehicles were involved in the collision and nobody else was injured.”
An ambulance spokeswoman said: “We were called at 10.50am with a report of an accident and arrived on scene at 10.54am.
“The male patient had facial injuries and back injuries and was taken to Royal Blackburn Hospital.
“The injuries were not life-threatening.”
Residents from around 20 homes were kept out of their homes for several hours while the leak was fixed.
Firefighters attended to seal off the affected area, before gas engineers arrived.
Crew manager Martin Dillon said: “We made the scene safe and stopped a gas leak.
“We used a bung, we have special putty that we use.”
A spokeswoman for National Grid said: “We had a call just after 11am to say that a car had damaged some of our equipment.
“When we got onto the site, the police were already there.
“The car had hit the wall and damaged a single service pipe that takes the gas to one property.
“We had engineers on site and we were waiting for the council to come down to assess it. ”
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