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Padiham fireman praised for averting gas blast
AN off-duty fireman has spoken of the moment he averted a potential explosion after gas from a terraced home was left ‘flowing-freely’ by two teenage copper pipe thieves.
Watch manager Alistair McLean, 47, was walking past the burgled house two doors down from his house in Hapton Road, Padiham, when he smelt gas and saw water running down the back street.
He spotted a back gate hanging off, the gas meter cover on the floor and the meter dial spinning.
Mr McLean couldn't shut the gas off as it had no stop handle so he dashed home, got some pliers, rushed back and managed to turn it off.
He said: “The gas and water were free-flowing from the house. If it had caught fire, there could have been quite a big explosion.
“The police had hold of the teenagers that had stolen the pipes, but didn’t know where they’d taken it from until I called them. The fact I found the leak meant they knew where it had been taken from.
“I was off-duty, but it’s about looking out for your neighbours and having community spirit.”
Burnley Crown Court was told how Dillon Morley, 17, and Liam Travers, 19, had gone to the house, armed with an axe and bags to steal the piping on March 9.
They were arrested when a police officer saw them carrying bags containing 16 metres of piping.
Morley was aggressive, the officer tried to sweep his legs from under him and he fell on top of her, leaving her with an injured wrist.
Morley, of Badger Close, Padiham, and his accomplice, of Lower East Avenue, Barnoldswick, had both admitted burglary and Morley also pleaded guilty to assault by beating. The pair were spared jail.
Travers, who has 25 offences on his record and is a volunteer worker at the Age UK shop in Colne, was given 12 months in youth custody, suspended for two years, with 200 hours’ unpaid work.
Morley received a 12-month youth rehabilitation order, with supervision and 100 hours’ unpaid work.
Sentencing the defendants, Recorder Kevin Talbot said had it not been for the intervention of Mr McLean, the damage could have been very serious.
He said Mr MacLean’s actions had been ‘very laudable and public-spirited’ and he ‘mercifully’ managed to make the leakage safe and secure.