'It's only my first day' - Coffee shop assistant on arriving at work in aftermath of 'major incident' at block of flats

A coffee shop assistant arrived for her first day at work this morning (Wednesday, January 6) to find police officers guarding a nearby block of flats after a gas leak.

Wednesday, 6th January 2021, 4:19 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th January 2021, 5:59 pm

Up to 700 people were evacuated from a block of flats in Milton Mount Avenue, Pound Hill, at around 12.20am, due to a gas leak which police declared as a 'major incident'.

Many described the moment they were told to leave as ‘scary’ and ‘horrendous’. Read more hereLocal people have rallied to help and are providing essential supplies, including baby essentials, for the families who are currently being housed at a number of local hotels.

Yas, who was on her first shift at Ridleys Coffee, a mobile coffee shop near the flats, said she came into work this morning to see the police at the scene.

The road was eerily quiet at midday but police officers remained at the scene, guarding the building, with families being warned to stay away

She said: "There's been a gas leak and all the people from the flats had to be evacuated. Hundreds of people were evacuated and put up in hotels until it clears.

"I think it's been fixed but I'm not 100 per cent sure. It happened about midnight so had cleared up by the time I arrived. It's only my first day."

When a reporter from this newspaper arrived at midday, the road was eerily quiet but police officers remained at the scene, guarding the building, with families being warned to stay away.

This was a multi-agency response in the aftermath of the incident and Sussex Police worked with partners including West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, South East Coast Ambulance Service, West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council and Southern Gas to resolve the incident.

Yas, who was on her first shift at Ridleys Coffee, a mobile coffee shop near the flats, said she came into work this morning to see the police at the scene

A cordon was set up that included Milton Mount Community Centre and Ridleys Court.

The residents have been placed in temporary accommodation until the scene is made safe, police have said.

A police spokesman said no injuries have been reported.

The exact cause of the gas leak is yet to be determined but 'not believed to be criminal'. Read more here

Up to 700 people were evacuated from a block of flats in Milton Mount Avenue
This was a multi-agency response in the aftermath of the incident