Fears of a gas explosion led to the High Street in Selkirk being closed to traffic during the first week of January 1986. A smell of gas was reported around 9.30am on the Tuesday.
The emission was thought to be coming from Arthur Grove’s stationery shop at 32 High Street, and because of the perceived risk of an explosion, police and council workers forced their way into the premises.
Nine elderly residents were evacuated from the Abbeyfield House complex situated above the shop. Abbeyfield House was ventilated while the residents were cared for at the nearby local health centre.
A police spokesman told our reporter at the scene: “We were worried for a time that there might be an old cellar beneath the premises where the gas might have built-up. There was quite a concentration of gas in the premises, but things weren’t so bad after we got fresh air into Abbeyfield.”
Gas board workers eventually tracked down the leak to a defect in a six-inch main outside the C. A. Groves and Co. premises. Repairs were carried out and diversions around the Back Row and Tower Street were lifted at 3pm.
– compiled by Bob Burgess