A BLOCK of flats had to be evacuated after a gas leak inside a property in Colchester.

Two fire crews and several Cadent engineers were called to Grosvenor Place just after 8am on Thursday morning.

A resident had called the emergency services after noticing a strong smell of gas coming from a property inside one of the blocks of flats in the area.

Firefighters used their vehicles to block traffic from driving down the busy residential street and set up a cordon whilst they ventilated the affected area.

The neighbouring 15 flats inside the building had to be evacuated as a precaution, although many residents were out at work at the time.


Erik Jacobi, a lecturer at the University of Essex, was one of the residents to be evacuated from their homes.

He said: “I was inside my flat this morning when I saw the fire engines turn up outside the window.

“We have a Facebook group for residents of the area and someone posted on there saying when they left for work they could smell gas and called the fire service.

“The fire service used a ladder to try and reach the flat in question. They evacuated everyone in the block which is 15 flats.

“They had to wait for a key to the property as they couldn’t break the door to the flat down in case is caused a spark.

“I am not an expert on gas leaks but it was a bit unsettling for sure.

“My flat looks on to the street and it was strange seeing all the fire engines turn up this morning.

“I wasn’t sure what was going on or whether I needed to get out at first.

“My flat is my office at the moment so I won’t be able to work until I get back in, but better safe than sorry.”


Tracey Martinez, 57, of the nearby Mill Apartments, said: “It’s all quite worrying that any minute an explosion could have happened.

“Praise to the fire service and gas services who acted so quickly and professionally, their actions may have literally saved lives.

“And credit to the resident who alerted the services of course.”

Firefighters left the scene at about 10.20am, but gas firm Cadent and the homeowner remained on scene.

A spokesman for Cadent said: "We were called to a suspected gas escape at a block of flats in Grosvenor Place, Colchester, shortly after 8.40am this morning.

"Residents were temporarily evacuated as a precaution. 

"The leak was found to be coming from internal gas appliance.

"Our role in such incidents is to make safe which we did by isolating the gas supply.

"The incident was closed shortly after 12.15pm and our engineers assisted with reoccupying the flats."

The leak is understood to have come from a cooker.

  • Suspected gas escapes should be reported on 0800 111 999* (Calls may be recorded and monitored)