Late on the night of Thursday 8th January, 1987, Wickwar local policeman PC Nick Shaw smelled gas in the High Street.
Nick immediately alerted the emergency services and then set about rousing sleeping residents. Nine minutes later the first fire appliances arrived and continued the operation, evacuating 39 people to the Social Club.
A further two elderly residents were moved to Yate Cottage Hospital. The Avon Emergency Plan was put into operation and an incident room was set up in the Community Centre…
Efforts to contain the situation failed and early the next morning the gas main exploded, destroying one house and seriously damaging two others. Thankfully, no-one was injured in the blast. John Price says, “The explosion disrupted village life for many weeks. The main road was closed at the top of North Street to traffic from Chipping Sodbury, and there was no entry to traffic approaching from either Wotton-under-Edge or the Downs Road.”
“It was almost a year before we went back to number 7. Nick’s home was demolished and the houses on either side extensively damaged.”
John also recalls, traffic did, in fact, find an unofficial route via the then undeveloped yard adjoining the newsagent’s shop (now Arkells Court) off the High Street, through the industrial estate to Downs Road.”