Couple's lucky escape as car hits home

A couple told of their lucky escape after a car skidded out of control and smashed through the front of their home, fracturing a gas pipe.Dozens of families were evacuated from High Street, Gorleston, because of fears of an explosion following the crash on Saturday evening.

A couple told of their lucky escape after a car skidded out of control and smashed through the front of their home, fracturing a gas pipe.

Dozens of families were evacuated from High Street, Gorleston, because of fears of an explosion following the crash on Saturday evening.

The impact caused extensive damage to the front room of Robert and Roberta Scott's home and tonight they told how they avoided death or serious injury because they were at the back of the house when the crash happened, at about 7.40pm.

Mr Scott, 57, revealed how they would normally have been sitting in their living room at that time on a Saturday evening, but decided to visit the gym instead and had only just arrived home when the silver Rover hit the house.

He said: “We wouldn't have stood a chance if we had been in the living room. The damage is quite extensive and the television was smashed to smithereens.

“I've only just finished renovating the front part of the house. The couch used to be in front of the window, but I thought it was dangerous there. Our dogs would also have been killed, but they rushed through to greet us.

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“The car carried on spinning out of control and ended up on the other side of the road. I rushed through to the front of the house, but by the time I went outside the driver had gone.”

A spokesman for Norfolk police said a 29-year-old local man was arrested an hour later on suspicion of drink-driving and was being held in custody. Residents also told how a female passenger had suffered head injuries, although she was able to walk out of the car.

Fire officers ordered the area to be cordoned off and the occupants of between 30 and 40 properties were initially taken to the nearby Three Tuns pub and then to a temporary centre set up at St Andrew's Hall.

The police were helped by emergency staff from Yarmouth Council and gas contractors blocked the leak by 8.25pm. Householders from all but four homes were allowed to return 30 minutes later and the remaining properties were declared safe by 10pm.

Mr Scott, who runs the Discount Fabric and Bed Linen store with his wife in High Street, said structural engineers had visited his home and he estimated the cost of the damage would stretch to about £20,000.

He added: “The crash disturbed a lot of people's lives. There was a disabled man who had to be dragged out of his house and one of the neighbours was ill in bed. But the emotion we have is that we are safe and the neighbours are safe. Bricks and mortar can be replaced.”

A next door neighbour, who did not want to be named, said: “I was lying on the sofa and if the car had come two feet further along, I would have been killed.”