FLAMES from a fractured gas pipe forced the closure of a busy road.

Workmen digging a trench in Main Road, Otterbourne, hit the low-pressure pipe creating flames that leapt four feet into the air.

Firefighters from Eastleigh station were called to the scene shortly after 11am yesterday. They were not required to take any action.

Transco, which owns the pipe network, was content to leave the flame burning while engineers took steps to clamp the pipe.

Within four hours workmen had capped the leaking gas pipe and made a permanent repair.

One property in the area lost power during the day but by mid-afternoon it had been reconnected.

No one was injured in the incident and according to Hampshire Fire and Rescue there was never a risk to the safety of nearby houses or motorists.

Station officer John Wilson, said: "There was no real risk to the public or to the surrounding areas.

"This is quite a common event and no one needed to be evacuated. The road was closed, not because of any danger but so that the workers could dig down and pinch the pipe."

He added: "The co-operation from Transco and the information the company gave us was of a high order."

The trench was being dug by contractors and was nothing to do with Transco.

Geoff Aspel, of Transco, said: "We believe that a contractor cut through one of our pipes. It is not unusual and it always looks a lot worse than it is. The situation is under control and there was no danger."