Flames were seen still shooting from the ground more than 90 minutes after a gas main was ruptured in Lindfield High Street today.
Middy photographer Steve Robards captured this shot and video just before 3pm today (Monday) while the incident was still in full flow.
West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said they were called to the dramatic scene at 1.19pm and were waiting for gas engineers to arrive to deal with what was believed to be a gas leak affecting the area.
Police cordoned off the road and at least five homes were thought to have been evacuated at the top of the High Street.
According to a reader who rang the Mid Sussex Times this afternoon, workmen installing a new water main in Lindfield High Street are understood to have gone through the gas main by accident.
The resident said his neighbour had seen flames shooting out of the ground.
He said: “There are flames coming out of the ground. The gas has been turned off and my neighbour saw the flames. It’s quite worrying.
“We are expecting a frost tonight so we are a bit concerned about what they are going to do.”
He added: “We are all quite elderly at this end of the road.”
A spokesperson for West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service said two fire crews from Haywards Heath were called to the scene at 1.19pm.
Two ground monitor hose reels were being played on the flames with a further jet also in use.
A spokesperson said: “A gas main has been ruptured and is alight in the road.”
Homes at the top of the High Street nearest to the church were evacuated and the road closed to traffic and pedestrians.
The emergency services were waiting for the gas board to arrive to deal with the ruptured main.