Gas Main Fire in Birmingham

At least 45 people were evacuated from their homes early today after a gas main fire.

Fire crews were called to Coney Green Drive, a residential street in Longbridge, at 1.40am.

They've told Capital that when they arrived they found a man slumped unconscious in a gas main trench, and rescued him.

He was taken to hospital and held on suspicion of starting the fire, West Midlands Police said. No-one else was injured.

Emergency services set up a 50m cordon around the trench, and a second gas leak was found in an adjoining road, Hawkesley Crescent, triggering a second cordon.

Extra police were brought in to assist with what officers declared a ``critical incident'' due to the impact on the community and police resources.

A WMFS spokesman said: ``Police, the fire service and ambulance crews are working with the gas board who are trying to repair this leak so that they can put the fire out.''

People evacuated from their homes were taken to a coach outside the police cordon while fire crews delt with the blaze, by 6am they were allowed home and the fire was out.