(Pictures Carl Royle)
A VILLAGE pub landlady described in dramatic detail how her pub was evacuated after a major roadside gas leak.
Around ten customers had settled down for lunch at the popular Navigation Inn at Dobcross when engineers arrived to warn of the leak which was caused workers hit mains pipe on Wool Road.
Emergency services and police rushed to the scene, closing roads in the immediate vicinity as around 20 people were evacuated from the pub and three nearby houses.
They were taken to an emergency “station” at the Uppermill Civic Hall, half a mile away, while the gas board and police vehicles with an ambulance were on standby.
Sue Ellis, 49, who has run the Navigation Inn for more than nine years with husband Mark, said: “The first indication we got of a problem was when gas engineers and police walked in as we were serving lunches to say there was a leak and we would all have to leave.
“There was no panic. Everything was very orderly and the engineers and police officers did a marvellous job, but when we got outside the pub the road resembled a war zone.”
She added: “Some customers had finished their meals, others were halfway through eating – a couple or so went hungry because we couldn’t serve them.
“Residents were evacuated, including one lady who was recovering from a broken foot injury. But with it being early afternoon, some were out.
“The Civic Hall had been made ready for the emergency but I stayed nearby once the pub had been cleared and I had a cup of tea with a friend. “
Returning to the pub more than four hours later Sue said: “It was really spooky – just like the aliens had landed and sucked all life out of the place.
“There were half empty glasses, unfinished plates of food. It was all quite surreal. But the good thing no one was hurt. However, in retrospect, it was very dramatic.”
Superintendent Denise Worth from Oldham Police said: “The Police attended in order to close the road.
“The incident occurred because males working on the site accidentally damaged a gas pipe but this was fixed within a couple of hours so people did not have to wait too long.
“Due to it being an accident it is not thought that it is likely to happen again.”