A catalogue of dramatic incidents – including a potentially life-threatening gas leak – sparked a major evacuation in Matlock.
The drama unfolded when a water main burst in Wellington Street, sending floods gushing down the road and into Derbyshire County Council’s headquarters.
A gaping hole then appeared in Wellington Street as a result of the flooding – before a van crashed into the crater and hit a gas pipe, sparking a leak.
Station manager Alan Richmond, of Derbyshire fire service, said the drama could have been deadly.
He told the Derbyshire Times: “This could have been a very serious incident – it could have resulted in the loss of life.
“But, along with partner agencies including the gas board, we were able to keep the situation under control.”
Scores of residents were forced to flee their homes and spend the night in the council’s headquarters.
Jo and Paul Davidson, of Hopewell Road, were awoken by the sound of the crash at about 10.15pm on Friday.
Paul, who celebrated his birthday earlier that night, said: “We then smelled some really potent gas so we got straight out of the house and alerted other people on the road.
“It was a pretty dramatic Friday night and it’s a birthday I won’t forget in a hurry.”
Firefighters helped pump away the flood water as a crane pulled the van out of the hole and the gas board fixed the leak.
It is not known when Wellington Street will reopen.