FIFTY homes and businesses had to be evacuated for nearly three hours after a car driven by a teenage girl crashed into the front of a takeaway, fracturing a gas pipe.
Mohammad Masood, 37, was working in the Sahad sweet centre and kebab shop on Blackburn Road, Accrington, when the drama occurred at 6.30pm on Sunday evening.
He said: “I just saw this car coming towards the front window. I think the driver was trying to overtake someone. It hit the front of the takeaway really hard and it’s a wonder it didn’t come through the front door.
“It was chaos, madness.
“It took them about three hours to clean up the mess and everyone was milling around outside. I had to close for the night.”
The shop stayed closed on Monday but Mr Masood was hoping to re-open later in the week.
Khizer Abbas, 24, who was upstairs in his home on Blackburn Road at the time, said: “I was doing some DIY in my bedroom when I heard a massive thud. I looked out my window, saw the car and immediately called 999.
“I was really shaken up and the driver was very upset when I got outside to her.”
Khizer, who works as a recruitment consultant in Preston, added: “You could smell gas everywhere, both inside and outside the house. The police quickly cordoned off the area and evacuated people as a safety measure.”
It took crews over two hours to repair the pipe and National Grid workers returned to finish the job on Monday morning.
Witnesses said the driver, who was unharmed, had turned her Renault Clio car off Willows Lane and was heading towards Oswaldtwistle when she lost control.
A spokesman for Lancashire Fire Service said: “Immediately following the incident our main concern was to evacuate residents and make sure the area was safe.”
Police have launched an investigation.