Emergency services descended on the Drayton Fields industrial estate last Friday in response to a ruptured gas pipe.
The leak occurred shortly after 11am when a driver moved his car onto the verge on Newton Close on the Drayton Fields Industrial Estate to avoid hitting a heavy goods vehicle.
An exposed ‘medium-pressure gas main pipe’ was then damaged when the car collided with it.
Sergeant Sam Dobbs, District Sergeant at Daventry Police Station, said a 100-metre exclusion zone was set up around the source of the leak while employees from 14 local businesses were evacuated.
“There was a real risk for the for the people involved,” Mr Dobbs said. “At one point we even had to ask a man to put his cigarette out.”
Around 200 people were trapped on the northern end of Newton Close, with fire officers having to cut holes in fences to evacuate them without leading them through a cloud of flammable gas.
Mr Dobbs said at one point there were between 40 and 50 people at the scene from Northamptonshire police, fire and ambulance services and Northamptonshire County Council’s emergency planning team, exemplifying the benefits of have a joint emergency procedure. He said: “We had a very positive response from the public and the media.
“The Daventry Court Hotel was particularly helpful in giving people shelter from the cold.”
It is understood a fibreglass covering should have been in place over the mains and National Grid is investigating the reason it was not in place on Friday. National Grid network supervisor Peter Tyrrell said: “Our engineers repaired the gas leak on the same day. Five out of the six businesses also had their gas supplies restored on the same day.
“We agreed with the final business that we would return on Monday, November 10 to restore the gas supply, which is now complete.”