RESIDENTS were forced to flee a Huddersfield street after vandals smashed a gas cylinder.
Firefighters spent nearly three hours at Greenhead Road yesterday afternoon making the area safe.
Two men were seen hitting a gas cylinder with an implement just after 3pm.
Jennifer Stringer, who works at the National Business College on Greenhead Road, raised the alarm.
She said: “I went to make a cup of tea about 3.45pm and all I could smell was gas. I called the gas board and they got here about 4.10pm.
“They did some readings and then told us we would have to evacuate. Luckily we only had seven staff on at the time.”
Christine Hoyland also works at the National Business College. She was in Trinity Street at 6pm yesterday.
Mrs Hoyland said: “We can’t go home because we’re the keyholders and we need to lock up. We’re waiting for the gas readings to go down so we can lock up and go home.”
One fire engine, two police cars and three vans from Northern Gas Networks raced to the scene. The area between the Princess Royal Health Centre and the junction with Trinity Street was cordoned off until 6.15pm.
Huddersfield Fire Station watch manager Andy Flynn said: “We got called to a smell of propane in various cellars on Greenhead Road. On arrival it appeared that a quantity of propane had been poured down a cellar by someone who had taken the gas cylinder.
“It was complicated because we had to get rid of the propane from each individual cellar. It was quite difficult, because propane is heavier than air, but we managed to ventilate all the cellars.”
A West Yorkshire Police spokeswoman said officers received reports of two men vandalising a gas cylinder.
She said: “Two males were seen with an implement hitting a gas cylinder on Greenhead Road just after 3pm. They made off down Greenhead Road at 3.30pm.”
Officers searched the area for the suspects without success.
Anyone with information about the incident can call Pc Mark Dawson on 0845 60 60 606.