Villagers in Summerbridge who were evacuated from their homes earlier today have returned.
Police and fire crews ordered 12 people to leave their homes and make for a safe house when a suspected gas leak was reported at 11.30am.
Upon arrival, emergency crews found a fire had started in a manhole on Main Street, outside KE Balsdon butcher.
The box which connects electricity, gas and water pipes before they split to serve houses had caught fire, and was smouldering.
Plastic ducting in the manhole was also on fire.
Fire crews isolated the electricity and gas, and extinguished the fire.
Ripon Fire Station Commander Mark Upton said: “The fire was in a box where the gas and electricity is split off and goes in to the houses.
“The manhole was full of water, and that was why the electricty pipe was starting to smoulder.
“Plastic ducting was burning.
“We evacuated people because there was a suspected gas leak.
“Three crews attended, from Summerbridge, Harrogate and Tadcaster.”
North Yorkshire Police Inspector Steve Ratcliffe, based at Ripon, said: “There was a small scale evacuation in relation to a small fire in a manhole which was smouldering near some gas pipes on Main Street, Summerbridge.
“It happened a few metres away from the butcher shop.
“As a precaution and on the advice of the fire service we evacuated people within 100 metres of the site.
“That equated to 12 people being relocated to a pub nearby.
“A full investigation has established that the manhole fire had been extyinguished and the site was declared safe at 1.25pm.
“There were no injuries, and everybody was safe. All roads have been reopened.
“I would like to thank the local residents of Summerbridge and the people in the area for all their assistance and patience.”
Summerbridge Stores owner Sue Thornton was evacuated.
She said: “Suddenly, the fire lady came in and said if we stayed and it blew, we wouldn’t be here any longer.
“My son had to get his baby out of bed and get out quickly.
“It was quite scary, because you didn’t know hat was going to happen.”
The village was closed to traffic throughout the morning.