Londonderry gas release - staff 'lucky to have escaped injury'

Road cordoned off
Image caption A number of buildings on Spencer Road were evacuated and the street was sealed off

The managing director of the Sandwich Company in Londonderry has said his staff are lucky to have escaped injury after a release of gas on Monday.

Twelve people were taken to hospital as a precaution after an underground cable caught fire, releasing carbon monoxide outside the shop on Spencer Road.

The Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue Service said it received a report of a smell of gas at about 12:20 BST.

The 12 people have since been released from hospital.

Joe Kincaid, the managing director of the Sandwich Company, told BBC Radio Foyle that the situation could have been worse.

'Cables'

"My staff were quite unsure about what was happening at the beginning.

"We have one staff member who lives in the apartment above the shop and he felt quite nauseous.

"You don't realise with these cables underneath the ground what can happen."

Kieran Doherty, district commander with the Northern Ireland Fire and Rescue, has said there could have been fatalities if this incident had happened at night.

"As a matter of procedure we always bring our gas monitors and straight away picked up large quantities of carbon monoxide.

"The amount we picked up would have been life-threatening.

"We then evacuated the premises."

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