HOMES along a notorious stretch of road near Burton had to be evacuated after a car crash sparked a gas leak.
The drama unfolded along the rural B5016, at Woodhouses, near Yoxall, at 10.30pm on Sunday, when a Peugeot 308 careered into a front garden and hit a gas main.
The driver, a 55-year-old woman from Burton, who was left bloodied and with minor injuries, was arrested on suspicion of drink-driving.
Residents living along the quiet stretch described hearing the ‘roar’ of the leaking gas amid the panic of being temporarily housed in a nearby Indian restaurant in the dead of night
It is the latest incident along the unlit stretch between Barton under Needwood and Yoxall, and has seen residents renew calls for the speed limit to be lowered.
The scene of the accident was just yards from where a memorial lies in tribute to two friends who were killed when their motorcyclists collided on the B5016 in 2010.
Scott Williams, who came running to the aid of the driver who had ploughed into his garden, said: “I heard a crunching sound. I came out and saw the hedge all over the drive. I jumped over the hedge and got her out of the car. The gas was screaming.
“When I realised the gas was leaking, that’s when it was frightening - when you think the house might explode.
“There was just this roar.”
Another resident, who asked not to be named, said: “I just heard a big bang and came out to see what was going on. I didn’t know what to do and the police wouldn’t let us back into the house.”
Some of the evacuated residents took solace in the nearby Little India restaurant until the early hours of the morning when it was deemed safe for them to return home, while others on the opposite side of the cordon were taken in by neighbours.
Mr Williams said the incident could have been much worse with nearby houses sitting right on the roadside.
He added: “We’re alright because our house is further back off the road, but it could have been in the front room of one of the others.
“A couple of neighbours have been on to Michael Fabricant (MP for the area) about the speed limit. It says 50, but people are doing 70 or 80mph.”