Police and fire engines were at the scene of a gas main fire in Lindfield today (Monday).
It is understood that workmen installing a new water main in the village High Street may have gone through a gas main by accident.
Flames were seen shooting several feet out of the ground and homes have been evacuated.
A spokesperson for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said two fire crews from Haywards Heath were called to the scene just before 1.30pm this lunchtime.
Two ground monitor hose reels were being played on the flames with a further jet was also in use.
A spokesperson said: “A gas main has been ruptured and is alight in the road.”
It is understood that at least five homes at the top of the High Street nearest to the church have been evacuated and the road closed to traffic.
One occupant in his home said: “The gas has been turned off and my neighbour saw flames. It’s quite worrying.
“We are expecting a frost tonight so we are a bit concerned about what they are going to do.”
The emergency services were waiting for the gas board to arrive to deal with the ruptured main.