Dozens evacuated in 'critical incident' gas main fire

Dozens of people were evacuated from their homes after a gas main fire in what police described as a "critical incident".

The incident happened at 1.40am in Coney Green Drive, a residential street in Longbridge, Birmingham.

Firefighters called to the scene found a man slumped unconscious in a gas main trench, and rescued him while the fire blazed nearby.

He was taken to hospital and held on suspicion of starting the fire, West Midlands Police said. No-one else was injured.

Police, the fire service and ambulance crews are working with the gas board who are trying to repair this leak so that they can put the fire out.

– A West Midlands Fire Service spokesman

Emergency services set up a 50m cordon around the trench, and a second gas leak was found in an adjoining road, Hawkesley Crescent, triggering a second cordon.

Roads were closed and 45 people evacuated as emergency services tackled the fire and gas leaks, West Midlands Fire Service (WMFS).