Gas leak in Sudbury church

Mark Westley Photography'All Saints Church in Sudbury, saved by church warden after a gas leak. ANL-141028-180112009
Mark Westley Photography'All Saints Church in Sudbury, saved by church warden after a gas leak. ANL-141028-180112009
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An explosion has been avoided at a church in Sudbury after a community warden’s quick action in reporting a gas leak.

Sudbury community wardens went to All Saints’ Parish Church on Monday afternoon to correct the time on the tower clock.

One of the wardens, Bradley Smith, also clocked a smell when he entered the building on Church Street.

“We wandered off down there like we do every year,” he said.

“But we noticed a weird smell when we went in.”

They climbed up the church tower to turn the clock back but when they got back down they realised there was build up of gas.

He telephoned the church warden who then reported the leak to National Grid.

“It is just one of those things you stumble across,” he said.

“It was my duty to report it.”

The build up of gas overnight could have caused an explosion if it had not been reported.

“I suppose it could have been devastating,” he said.

Once the National Grid arrived they turned off the gas mains after confirming the leak in the internal pipe work.

Winifred May, who sits on the church’s events committee, praised Bradley for taking action and helping to prevent a potential catastrophe.

“It was in explosive quantities,” she said.

“There was sufficient build up for it to be dangerous.

“Fortunately he didn’t strike a light and blow it all up.”

At the moment the church is facing winter without any heating unless they can find funds for a new supply pipe for the building.

But the services and planned events will continue with the use of the church hall opposite.

Mrs May, of Waldingfield Road, said the damaged gas pipe would be hugely expensive to repair because of its industrial size.

“It is going to cost thousands of pounds,” she said.

“The floor will have to be dug up.”

She is unsure whether the costs will be covered by the insurance or whether they will have to rely entirely on fundraising.

The building is grade I listed making it difficult to carry out repairs which require alterations to the existing property.

Mrs May fears this could make the repair process more difficult as they will have to work out of way of getting the industrial size pipe into the church without causing too much damage.

“We are now just waiting to find out how it can be repaired or replaced,” she said.

They are holding an All Saints’ Day Market on November 1, to raise money for the building.