A New Year's Eve celebration at a 100-year-old pub in Essex was delayed for several hours when liquid petroleum gas began leaking from a 2,000 litre tank.
Firefighters were called to the Fat Goose at Tendring just after 1800 GMT to make an inspection.
They decided to close nearby roads and impose a 100m exclusion zone.
Staff and customers were not able to start celebrating until gas engineers made the tank safe. Police said they were treating it as criminal damage.
The pub and two adjacent houses were evacuated.
Only after the tank was made safe were the landlord, his staff and customers allowed back to start their New Year's Eve celebrations.