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Praise for mammoth community response following major gas outage

Communities, volunteers and the Local Resilience Forum are amongst those being thanked for their quick response after 3,500 homes were affected by a major gas outage in Ratby and Kirby Muxloe.

All Ratby and Kirby Muxloe residents and businesses are now reconnected after the serious incident which left some people without heating for nearly a week.

Leicester Time: Praise for mammoth community response following major gas outage
Picture: Rapid Relief Team Charity (RRT)

Gas distribution company Cadent, Leicestershire County Council, Hinckley and Bosworth Borough Council, Blaby District Council, voluntary and community organisations from across Leicestershire, local businesses, volunteers and the local community and others worked round-the-clock to support vulnerable people, provide hot food and give out heaters and blankets, as temperatures dipped.

Now, Leicestershire county council is praising all involved for stepping up and asking utility company Severn Trent Water to explain the cause of the incident and an apparent delayed response to the burst water pipe.

It has also asked the Local Resilience Forum to calculate the cost to the public purse so that costs can be recovered from those responsible.

Councillor Ozzy O’Shea, cabinet member for highways and transport who was personally affected and who represents Ratby on the County Council, said: “The response locally has been exemplary. Our local councils, Cadent and voluntary groups – including Leicestershire Search and Rescue and British Red Cross – and our residents have gone the extra mile to look out for our communities and I can’t thank them enough.

“Now we need answers to what happened. This has impacted thousands of people’s lives and over a week on, we still don’t have confirmation of what went wrong and that is why the Cabinet is formally asking Severn Trent for their explanation.  I am very pleased that the Leader of the Council has asked me to move the Cabinet recommendation to bring this about.

“Everyone’s priority has been keeping our residents safe and well but this brings with it large costs.  At a time when public spending is tightly squeezed, it’s important we take action to recoup costs.”

The Rapid Relief Team (RRT) charity provided over 200 meals to members of Leicestershire Search & Rescue during the incident, which was caused by a burst water pipe.

The Rapid Relief Team, which is made up of volunteers from the Plymouth Brethren Christian Church (PBCC), offers practical support to emergency services and provides quality food and refreshments to first responders at the scene of emergencies and major incidents. 

Jim Burke, a volunteer from the RRT who provided support at the scene, said: “We were very glad to be able to support the invaluable work of Leicestershire Search & Rescue who helped thousands of families affected by the pipe burst. As soon as we became aware of the major incident, we mobilised our volunteers and set up our tent next to the Gospel Hall.

“With first responders working hard in the cold evenings to support the community, it was great to be able to provide them with a hot burger meal and refreshments.”

Jeremy Tennent, Trustee at the PBCC Knighton Park Gospel Hall, said: “We would like to express our sincere thanks and gratitude to all those who did a sterling job in assisting the community during this emergency.

We were pleased to be able to offer our Gospel Hall as the central meeting point for the first responders who worked tirelessly to ensure residents were supported. As Christians, offering care and compassion to those in need is central to our faith and our way of life, and we are always looking for ways to lend a helping hand to our neighbours.”