THE blaze at a gas tower - which led to dozens of homes and some businesses being evacuated - is believed to have been caused accidentally.

Residents across St Helens were met with dramatic scenes above the lofty structure on Jackson Street during the afternoon of Wednesday, April 13.

At the height of the fire, more than 140 concerned neighbours bombarded the fire department control centre with calls.

Forty firefighters, eight fire engines and specialist fire units were called to the site at around 3.30pm.

Jackson Street resident Keith O’Shaughnessy said evacuated neighbours took refuge in Holy Trinity Church in Parr.

The fire was finally brought under control during the night, but crews remained at the scene to prevent any re-ignition.

Station Manager John McNeill said: “Crews worked tirelessly through the night and managed to contain any further outbreaks.”

The incident came just weeks after the Star reported how the gas holder was to be dismantled.

A spokeswoman for the National Grid, who will be responsible for taking it down, confirmed contractors were on site carrying out preparatory work.

They had been welding when a fire started accidentally.

Speaking this week, Tony Harland, of Merseyside Fire and Rescue Service, who is leading the investigation, said: “At the moment we believe the cause was accidental, caused by welding equipment. Our investigation is still ongoing.”

The intensity of the fire has left huge yellow scorch marks on its side, clearly visible from Jackson Street.

The National Grid stressed work to actually dismantle the holder has yet to start.

The spoksewoman added: “The gas holder is still going to be demolished and discussions are going on at the moment concerning the programme for this work.”