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Thousands could be without gas for days during freezing conditions

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Thousands of people could be without gas for days in central Scotland due to a mains failure.

Eight thousand properties are affected, with gas infrastructure company SGN saying it will have to go door-to-door to turn off supplies in affected properties for safety reasons.

Engineers have visited more than 1,000 properties and will continue until 11pm tonight.

Temperatures in the area are below zero and are expected to remain low over the coming days.

Fourteen schools and education facilities will be closed tomorrow in the Falkirk Council area, and officials said it would be working with SGN to care for vulnerable people affected by the gas problem.

SGN said it would provide electric heaters and cookers for the elderly, disabled, chronically sick and those with young children – and they would be available from Camelon Community Centre.

In a statement, the company said a fault in a piece of equipment that regulates pressure in the gas network was to blame.

“While we repair the gas governor, we need to visit all affected properties to turn off your gas supply at the meter and we’ll need access to your home to turn off your gas supply,” SGN said.

“It will take us some days to reach everyone so if you do need to pop out or go to work, it would be helpful for us if you’re able to leave a key with a neighbour.

“With so many homes affected, it’s likely you could be without your gas supply for several days. We’re sorry for the inconvenience this will cause. We’re doing all we can to restore gas supplies to the area as soon as possible.”

Falkirk Council said it had alerted housing and social work services to be on stand-by to support SGN.

St Mungo’s High School and Larbet High School will be closed on Monday, along with nine primary schools and three other learning facilities.

“We have a list of vulnerable people in the area so we know were people who may have the most difficulty are,” a spokesman said.

He added that all care homes in affected areas are currently fine.

“We are ready to support SGN in any way we can,” he said.

Scott McLean, 42, lives in Larbert and was one of those at Camelon Community Centre to pick up supplies.

He said he was awoken at 4am by his boiler “vibrating and going crazy”.

He said: “I’d been out for a Christmas night out and got to bed at two in the morning. So at 4am in the morning I was having a drunken conversation with my dog about what to do about the problem, but he didn’t have any ideas, so I just switched the boiler off and went back to bed.

“We have a WhatsApp group with my neighbours and people started saying they had the same problem and I knew then it wasn’t just my boiler on the blink.”

Mr McLean’s three children will not be able to attend school tomorrow due to the closures.

“We’ll have to work out what we can cook in the microwave, and now with this hotplate, so we’ll rustle meals together and get plenty of duvets down in the living room and have plenty of movies for the kids,” he said.

“It’s all of us coming together. Everybody is clubbing together to get the street through it.”

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