Eight Victims of a Leakage - Baby Unaffected
A family of eight were the victims of a leakage of gas at 10, Oval-road, Rushden, the home of Mr. and Mrs. F. Frost, on Sunday morning. Those affected were Mr. and Mrs. Frost, Mr. and Mrs. R. Pettit (son-in-law and daughter), the Misses Elsie, Edna and May Frost (daughters), and Miss Gladys Grear (granddaughter).
Discovery was not made till 11 a.m. by Mrs. Richards, a neighbour, who thought it significant that none of the family was moving about, and on going to the door she detected a strong smell of gas.
All the victims were semi-conscious except Mr. and Mrs. Pettit, who had lost consciousness. Dr. Muriset, Dr. Gillespie, and Dr. Davis were called in and were soon on the scene, and Nurse Mather, who was on her round, was hastily summoned. With the exception of Mr. and Mrs. Pettit, all were soon normal. Mrs. Pettit recovered after a short time, but her husband did not regain consciousness for some hours. A remarkable feature of the occurrence was that Mrs. Pettit’s baby was totally unharmed.
The gas company was notified, and the leakage was located in the main just outside the front door. The escaping gas to all appearances must have entered the house through a small window which had remained open near the door, and then by way of the staircase had found its way to the upstairs rooms. As all other windows were closed, there was no means by which the gas might escape.
Councillor J. Allen, who lives in the next block, went into the house and assisted the neighbours in opening all the windows and doors. At about noon he tried to telephone the gas company from Mr. Hawkes’s house but could not get through, so he and Mrs. Hawkes telephoned to the police station and informed an officer that there was a serious leakage of gas at No. 10, Oval-road, asking for a man to be sent as speedily as possible as several people were badly gassed, and requesting the police to inform the gas company.
It appears that the leakage had been noted prior to Sunday’s occurrence. Mr. A.T. Watson (manager of the Gas Company) stated that the leakage was not notified until Sunday evening, and within half an hour workmen were on the scene to locate the defect. The pipe connecting the house to main was found to have been corroded, presumably by the action of the soil, and the fault was in no way attributable to the frost.