A RESIDENT has described how he thought a bomb had exploded after a van collided with a gas main this morning.

The incident happened at 1.06am today (Sunday) in King Arthurs Way, Andover, and the driver, a 35-year-old man from Andover, has been arrested.

READ: Man arrested after van crashes into gas main causing leak

One witness, Ross Telfer, whose house backs onto the road said he heard the collision and the “sound of the bang was that loud that it made me jump”.

“I thought it was a bomb or an explosion. Immediately I wondered what it was and saw a van had ploughed into the gas main. I ran towards the van to see if I could help, I smelt gas and called the emergency services.”

Mr Telfer said he ran back inside to collect his cat before a neighbour knocked on the door to tell him to get out. He then stayed at the top of the road until around 3am when he was allowed to return.

“All of these houses back onto the mains, there was a genuine risk of these going up, especially with the amount of gas that was escaping.”

Read: Homes evacuated and road closed after serious gas leak

He added that in the hours that followed the fire service were constantly hosing down the van to make sure it did not increase in temperature which could have led to an explosion.

Another neighbour Raichel Tilley said that she heard the bang and smelt gas just moments after the collision.

She said: “I was one hell of a bang. I went around the back [of the house] and someone had ploughed into the gas main. I said to my other half ‘I can smell gas', I went back outside, and it was so strong that I said ‘I think we’ve got to leave’ because it was so bad.”

Ms Tilley and her partner stayed at her mother’s house but called the police on the way there to alert officers of the gas but was told other calls had come in about the smell.

“I walked back at half past five and an officer came in and checked the house and said we could come back.”

She added that there was little news from the emergency services about whether they could return.

Leader of Test Valley Borough Council, Councillor Phil North posted on his Facebook page: “I have been briefed this morning on the emergency incident in Kingsway Gardens last night.

“A commercial vehicle crashed into a lamp post and a gas main at the junction of King Arthurs Way and Newbury Road, damaging the gas main.

“There were two issues, the gas leak and a dangerous lighting column. There was the potential for 500 homes to have to been evacuated but it was assessed that it was safer to leave people in their homes rather than evacuating them. The damage to the gas main was subsequently fixed and SEE have also fixed the lamp post.

“Test Valley Borough Council had an officer on the ground from 1am until the incident was made safe - and it has been confirmed to me that the situation is now back to normal.”