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Demolition of Richard Cloudesley School on Golden Lane Estate suspended after gas leak

PUBLISHED: 17:52 10 December 2018 | UPDATED: 17:52 10 December 2018

Roads were closed after the gas leak on Saturday morning. Picture: Ryan Dilley

Roads were closed after the gas leak on Saturday morning. Picture: Ryan Dilley

Archant

Building work on the historic Golden Lane Estate has been suspended after a gas leak caused dozens of families to be evacuated from their homes.

The view from Basterfield House. Picture: Ryan DilleyThe view from Basterfield House. Picture: Ryan Dilley

Contractors have been demolishing the old Richard Cloudesley School so it can be replaced by the new City of London Primary Academy Islington (CoLPAI).

But on Saturday morning people living in Basterfield House – within spitting distance of the building site – were hit with a strong smell of gas rising from the basement.

After dialling 999 they pleaded with workers to stop, believing they had disturbed the pipe.

Emergency services came to the scene, and firefighters evacuated Basterfield and neighbouring blocks, leaving young and old exposed to the elements for some two hours before they were allowed to return home. Nearby roads were also closed to traffic.

The broken pipe on the left. The pipe on the right has been capped after gas leaked into the block. Picture: Ryan DilleyThe broken pipe on the left. The pipe on the right has been capped after gas leaked into the block. Picture: Ryan Dilley

Ryan Dilley lives in Basterfield House. He said: “Several people were unwell and stood outside in their nightwear, there were children and babies.

“The results of this could have been appalling – gas pouring out into the space under the occupied flats.

“There could have been a fire or explosion. The smell was overwhelming and the evacuation only came an hour after the leak was caused. This was a disaster averted only by the actions of residents.”

Today the City of London Corporation sent a letter to all tenants and homeowners saying it was still investigating the incident, and had reported it to the Health and Safety Executive.

Paul Murtagh, assistant director of property services, wrote: “I understand this must have been a disturbing experience for all residents and I share the concerns that have been expressed by some of you.

“Although, at this stage, we have been unable to confirm any link between the gas leak and the demolition work going on adjacent to Basterfield House, we have taken the decision to suspend the demolition work until we are certain there is no potential for a further similar incident.

“Please be assured the Corporation is fully aware of the seriousness of this incident and we will continue to work with representatives from police and the HSE to understand what actually happened on this occasion and to take appropriate steps to prevent a similar occurrence.”

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