Hundreds of people in Norwich report ‘gas cloud’ over city

More than 300 people in and around Norwich reported a smell of gas last night (Saturday), sparking concern that a mysterious 'gas cloud' had drifted over the city.

Families started smelling gas just after 5.30pm yesterday and hundreds of anxious people called the National Grid fearing it was a major leak.

Fire crews from Earlham and Carrow were also called out just before 7pm to reports of a smell of gas.

It was initially believed that some sort of 'gas cloud' had swept over the city, but engineers established it was just a leak of the chemical which is used to give gas, which is naturally odourless its smell.

But, with the National Grid duty bound to send workers to investigate every report of a gas leak, it was a busy night for engineers.

A spokeswoman for the National Grid said: 'We had quite a flurry of calls from Norwich, with calls starting at about 5.30pm from people who said they could smell gas.

'Initially we thought we were dealing with a gas cloud, but we didn't know what it was or where it had come from.'

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However, it turned out a leak in a pipe at Yelverton, where an odorant is added to gas to give it its distinctive smell, was to blame.

The spokeswoman said: 'There had been a very small leak of the odorant and it only takes a very small amount to make it smell.

'You cannot just turn that off because you need gas to have a smell, but the problem was repaired on Saturday night.'

But she added until the calls stopped at about 11.30pm, it had led to a busy Saturday night for National Grid call centre staff and engineers.

She said: 'If people call in, then we have to investigate every one of them. We had to get extra staff in to deal with the influx of calls and to check on the homes.

'We wouldn't have expected that number of calls on a Saturday night and over a bank holiday weekend, so we had to draft people in from around the area.

'Engineers have been out visiting each street where we got calls, because we have to be certain that there is not a genuine gas leak. 'We would always urge people who do smell gas to call us on 0800 111 999 because it is always better to be safe than sorry.'

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