Cumbernauld gas leak families were not catered to

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A fast food chain has been forced to defend its lack of provision after families were decanted onto the premises in the middle of the night.

Last week we reported how 70 homes in Torbrex Road had to be evacuated after 11pm after a gas main pipe was damaged, in a move that has sparked an ongoing police enquiry.

Residents were ordered by police to walk to McDonalds near Asda but questions have been raised about the lack of amenities that met them in the restaurant.

At no point were blankets or hot drinks provided and if the evacuees wanted a hot cuppa or a snack for their young ones, they had to pay for them.

The lack of any contingency plans or indeed, goodwill gestures from the world’s biggest fast food company has not gone down well with many residents.

And local councillor Paddy Hogg is of the same mind.

The Scottish Nationalist said: “I am a wee bit concerned to hear that some particularly the elderly and infirm during such a freezing bitter night were compelled to pay for any hot drinks while at McDonalds and some left home lightly clothed and would have benefited from an emergency blanket for the period of evacuation.

“There are always lessons to be learned and maybe some emergency procedures should be tried out for large scale evacuations.

“McDonalds deserve credit for keeping their doors open to assist but should have put people before profit during this emergency,” he said.

However, a spokesperson for McDonalds said this was not the whole story and added: “We can confirm that our Cumbernauld restaurant was not declared an evacuation centre, nor were we asked to act as one.

“At approximately 11pm on Saturday 27th December a police officer visited the restaurant to advise that there was a possibility of an evacuation, due to a gas leak, and that the restaurant might get a little busier.

“We would welcome the opportunity to discuss such approaches with the local police, to find ways in which we may be able to offer further support in the event of a similar event in future”.