Ardkeen Retail Park, which houses a large Tesco store as well as Next and Homebase outlets, had to be evacuated at rush hour yesterday (Thursday) evening after construction workers accidentally burst a gas pipe at the rear of the Tesco building.

Frightened shoppers left their shopping behind as they ran to their cars and exited the complex after store management announced the emergency situation. The area, including a Tesco filling station, was sealed off after gardai and fire brigade and Gas Company personnel rushed to the scene.

The incident occurred shortly after 5 p.m. and normality was restored within an hour. The construction workers were extending Tesco’s electrical department when the gas pipe breakage occurred.

Tesco management declined to comment afterwards while a management spokesman at Homebase reported that they were told of a fire threat and to evacuate immediately.