Around 90 people have been forced to leave their homes due to a huge blaze after a gas main caught fire in the early hours of the morning.
Firefighters were called to a large blaze in a suburb of Peterborough at 12.31am on Sunday.
Group Commander Danny Kelly of Cambridgeshire Fire and Rescue Service (CFRS) said crews discovered a gas mains supply on fire, causing a leak.
No injuries have been reported.
Crews are still battling the blaze almost six hours after arriving on the scene, and are working with police, the ambulance service and the red cross to deal with the incident.
A spokesman for the gas company Cadent said the main is not expected to explode as it is outside.
They added that the fire service had evacuated nearby homes because of the heat of the fire.
Group Commander Kelly said it was hoped the gas could be shut off by about 7.30am.
He added that people had been evacuated to The Cresset performing arts centre in Bretton, where they were organised into household bubbles to comply with social distancing rules.
Flames could be seen in the sky above the area as the fire raged, in pictures released to social media by the fire service.
Firefighters set up hose reels to prevent the fire spreading to nearby homes, while a 100-metre cordon is in place as crews remain at the scene battling the blaze.
The fire service warned people to avoid the area and to keep windows and doors closed.
The blaze was audible in the background as Group Commander Kelly took to Twitter to give an update on the incident.
He said: “I’m here in North Bretton, Peterborough at a large incident involving a gas main which was ruptured.
“The fire service was called earlier this morning at 12.50, to what was believed to be a small fire in a garden.
“When crews arrived they discovered quite a large gas main on fire.
“Currently on scene we have four fire engines and two water carriers standing by. We also have police, ambulance, gas and electric on site as well.
“We’re working together to try and reduce and stop the gas from leaking, which is currently on fire.
“You may here it in the background, it’s quite a severe fire at the moment, and fire service are protecting surrounding properties.
“We have evacuated approximately 80 people from the surrounding area, and we have a 100-metre cordon in place which has been done by our police colleagues.
“I would ask that people keep clear of the general area. There’s a lot going on for us right now but we can reassure you that we’re doing everything we can to resolve the incident as quickly as possible.”
The Group Commander said he hoped to get the gas shut off by 7.30am.
He added: “That is an approximate time, and we’re working with our colleagues from the National Grid and the gas company to resolve it as quickly as possible.
“If that changes, we will update you as quickly as possible.”
Peterborough police wrote on Facebook: “Officers are currently assisting Cambridgeshire Fire & Rescue Service in responding to a fire in Hyholmes, Bretton. An 120 metre cordon is in place and several properties have been evacuated as a precaution. Please avoid the area and keep windows and doors closed if you are nearby.”
A spokeswoman for CFRS said crews were still working prevent the fire from spreading to other properties.
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