Gas clouds engulf Prague street, hundreds evacuated as firefighters rush to plug leak (VIDEOS)

A ruptured underground pipe sparked startling scenes in Prague on Thursday as plumes of gas filled the city’s picturesque streets.

Traffic was brought to a standstill and up to 500 people were forced from surrounding homes and businesses after construction work went badly wrong. According to local police, scores of people were rushed from properties on Masná Street and transport in the area around Old Town Prague had to be halted.

Footage of the incident shows noxious chemicals spewing from a hole in the ground close to a pizzeria. A ban on entering the area was put in place at around 7pm local time as technicians worked to close off the leaking gas line. A large presence of firefighters and police could be seen patrolling the scene.

Five people were hospitalized for gas inhalation, however, they were discharged after receiving treatment, the Policie CR said in a statement. People were eventually allowed to return to their homes later that night.

“After the firefighters assured that the concentration of gas in the air is minimal and there is no danger, the evacuated people started to come back home at about 11pm,” said Martin Kavka, Prague Fire Department spokesperson.

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