A suspected major gas leak at a pensioner's house – which turned out to be a simple case of a grill being left on - sparked police to evacuate residents from their homes in the middle of the night.
Nine families with young children and their pets were forced to flee their homes on Chestnut Avenue, on Macclesfield's Hurdsfield Estate, last night and take refuge with neighbours.
Police were called to the scene at 11pm after a resident reported a smell of gas at a 95-year-old woman's home.
Officers broke into the house and National Grid engineers capped off the gas at the meter and vented the property.
The woman was taken to Macclesfield Hospital and is expected to make a full recovery.
The video below shows Rose Paylor, of Chestnut Avenue, who took in families who were evacuated after the leak.
Sergeant Andy Gardener, senior officer on the scene, said the leak was so bad engineers told him it would have 'ripped the house and road apart' if the gas had been ignited.
He said: "We received a call at about 11pm from a concerned neighbour about a widowed 95-year-old woman.
"When we got there I had to put the back door in and there was a strong smell of gas that hit you straight away.
"The woman was sat lifeless in a chair in the front room. She had been there a while and I was convinced she had died until I saw her hand move.
"She was taken straight to Macclesfield Hospital and was completely oblivious to what had happened. She was kept in for observation but she seems to be recovering well.
"Gas engineers who had been called confirmed it as explosive and we evacuated nine families because we had concerns for the neighbouring properties.
"It took us about three hours to find where the leak was coming from, cap it off and properly vent the property.
"I want to thank the residents on Chestnut Avenue who provided refuge for the nine evacuated families, their children and even their pets and McDonalds who said they would open up the restaurant to families who needed a place to stay until the area was made safe.
"Thankfully this turned into a good news story; everyone was okay and showed good community spirit."
Residents have since been allowed back into their homes.
Antony Quarrell, a spokesman for the National Grid, said: "An engineer was called out at 12.30am. He switched the gas off at the meter and and checked the system, but there wasn't a leak. It seemed the householder had left the grill on.
"The engineer left at 3.40am after making the area safe."