Northern Ireland

Families returning after gas alert in east Belfast

People moved from their homes during a carbon monoxide alert in east Belfast have been allowed to return.

Firefighters were called to the My Lady's Road area on Thursday morning after people heard "rumbling noises under their homes" and smelled gas.

A 50-metre exclusion zone was put in place as checks were carried out.

Carbon monoxide detected in a number of houses is believed to have been caused by burning underground electric cables.

NI Fire and Rescue Service Group Commander Alan Walmsley said: "When we arrived we found the ground was actually trembling; there was actually something happening below the pavement.

"We quickly identified that it was either gas or possibly electricity cables burning.

"We took readings from the houses that were adjacent and identified that there was a source of carbon monoxide coming into the properties.

"Obviously, given the danger of carbon monoxide, we very quickly evacuated these properties and put a 50-metre exclusion zone in place."

It is understood 11 residents and four firefighters were examined by medics but no-one required hospital treatment.

A Northern Ireland Electricity spokesman said a fault had occurred in an underground electricity cable in the My Lady's Road area at 1017 BST.

About 25 homes lost power for a time, but electricity has now been restored in the area.