Gas leak scare turns out to be Chinese meal fumes

Emergency services wore gas masks while attending the incident at Piershill Square East. Picture: Scott Louden
Emergency services wore gas masks while attending the incident at Piershill Square East. Picture: Scott Louden
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FIREFIGHTERS evacuated a block of flats and sealed off an entire square in a major suspected gas leak – which proved to be fumes from a Chinese meal.

Police cordoned off Piershill Square East for two hours after a resident began coughing and struggling to catch her breath following complaints of a strange odour.

Residents at eight flats were forced to flee their homes while emergency services operated an exclusion zone to test the air for toxic gas.

Three fire engines, two police cars, a specialist ambulance and a fire incident van were scrambled to the chaotic scene at 11.50am yesterday.

But after frantic investigations it later emerged the drama had been sparked by a family cooking a homemade Chinese meal.

One resident told how his wife had been spluttering and struggling to breathe with an odour tickling her throat.

He said: “My wife was complaining about breathing problems and coughing.

“She said there was some sort of smell sticking at the back of her throat.

“I called the ambulance to see if there was any danger and mentioned the smell.

“They alerted the other services which was good because it could have been serious.”

He said while her illness had not been “too dramatic” she had been “coughing so much”.

But he said: “It turned out it was not a gas leak but the smell was caused by Chinese cooking. That’s what the firefighters said the smell was.”

The woman was checked over by paramedics but did not require hospital treatment.

The incident was downgraded at around 2pm with around 20 residents allowed to return to their homes.

Among those evacuated was Heera Singh, 21, who told how they were dramatically ordered to leave the block by fire crews.

“I had been sleeping and just got up when they came to the door,” said Mr Singh.

“They said it was a suspected gas leak and that they needed to make it all safe. I was about to get in the shower when they told us to evacuate.”

He initially questioned whether one of his neighbours had damaged a pipe redecorating his flat before it emerged the disturbance had been caused by something much less sinister.

After a thorough check of the block, the emergency services left the scene and the square was reopened at around 2pm.

A spokeswoman for the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service said: “We were asked to attend as there was some suggestion of a gas leak.

“Tests were carried out on the air in the surrounding area but it turned out the smell was just cooking fumes.”

She said the fire service would always attend if there were concerns about a potential gas leak.

“Fire crews are also obliged to inform the gas board about such incidents,” she said.