QUEENSFERRY came to a standstill on Tuesday when a gas leak from the Shell petrol station sparked an alarm.
Around 20 firefighters rushed to the garage at the Echline Road roundabout around 12.30pm with a fleet of police who re-directed traffic and pedestrians as they assessed what had happened.
A spokeswoman from Lothian and Borders fire and rescue service said: “Fire crews were faced with a liquified petroleum gas (LPG) leak from a petrol tank to the rear of the garage. The area was made safe by setting up a 200m exclusion zone with the aid of the police.”
The roundabout from the Forth Road Bridge, the B8000 and Ferrymuir Road were closed to traffic and houses in the surrounding area were evacuated. Staff at the Shell garage also had to leave the forecourt as a precaution.
The fire service spokeswoman added: “The company supplying LPG and an engineer did a controlled ventilation, the leak was successfully stopped and the area was made safe by 2pm.”
Andy Malarky (22) was in the Tesco car park at lunchtime when he saw all the commotion.
He said: “It was weird - something similar had just happened at St Andrew’s Square in Edinburgh just before I left work.
“I saw a lot of emergency vehicles appear and I just thought, ‘what’s going on?’ South Queensferry is busy at the best of times but I knew something must be happening.
“The High School had just come out for lunch and people that were walking towards the garage were being asked to turn around.
“When the police arrived they cordoned the area off with tape and there were ambulance, fire community vehicles and unmarked police cars.”
The Forth Road Bridge was also closed southbound for five minutes as a precaution.
Nobody was injured and the petrol station owners have advised the public that the station is safe.
A Shell spokesman said: “During a regular check of the Shell retail service station at Ferry Muir Gate, a staff member detected a gas release and immediately initiated the procedure to close the site and inform the fire brigade. Further inspection by a qualified engineer found the leak was coming from a faulty valve which has now been replaced. The station has now reopened as usual.
“We can confirm that the site is now safe and the safety of our staff, customers and neighbours continue to be our first priority.
‘‘Shell takes all necessary precautions to ensure that our operations are run safely at all times. Indeed, this is a great example of the pro-active approach of the staff at the station, checking and ensuring that all equipment is functioning correctly.”