Panic as hundreds of customers are evacuated over 'gas leak' sparking car park gridlock as shoppers flee | The Sun

AN IKEA store has been evacuated after unconfirmed reports of a "gas leak" this afternoon.

The Ashton-under-Lyne, Manchester branch of the Swedish furniture giant has been cordoned off after customers were told to get out of the building at around 3.30pm.

Customers have been active on social media, criticising the organisation of the evacuation, with one saying it was "not the slickest".

According to Manchester Evening News, staff told families with children to leave first, followed by other shoppers as emergency exits were opened.

One disgruntled shopper noted that the car park exit was "gridlocked" after the alarm was raised.

Another added: "If it was a fire or serious incident we would all be dead! Very poor.

"Staff telling us to queue up at the tills after being told to evacuate. Sent up a fire escape to the roof!"

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A spokesman for The Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service said: "Firefighters from Oldham, Hollins, Stalybridge and Ashton fire stations arrived quickly at the scene. Crews have worked alongside emergency service colleagues to clear the area, including evacuating local businesses."

He added that nearby roads were now closed and asked locals to stay away from the area so firefighters could complete their work.

Meanwhile, IKEA Manchester's Deputy Marketing manager, Gary Roberts confirmed the evacuation had taken place and that it was due to a report of a gas leak.

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He said: "The store will remain closed today and will re-open on Tuesday morning, owing to confirmation that it is safe to do so by local authorities. We apologise for any inconvenience caused to our customers.

"The safety of our customers and co-workers is always highest priority for IKEA."

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