21 Mar 2010

Call for faster emergency response after gas leak

6:00 am on 21 March 2010

People in rural regions need faster response times in dealing with emergencies, according to the mayor of South Waikato.

Up to 200 people were evacuated from central Tokoroa about lunchtime on Saturday after a road digger ruptured an underground gas pipeline.

People up to 400 metres away had to stay outside for 90 minutes.

Mayor Neil Sinclair says he is worried that gas poured from the ruptured pipeline for an hour before the break was sealed by technicians who drove from Taupo to fix the problem.

He wants rural communities to get better response times for emergencies.

However, lines and pipeline company Vector says its staff arrived on the scene in 45 minutes and within the 1 hour guideline for stipulated events.