A significant gas leak was reported around 12.21am on Wednesday 6 January and it has since been declared as a major incident.
This is a multi-agency response and Sussex Police are working collaboratively with partners including West Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, South East Coast Ambulance Service, West Sussex County Council, Crawley Borough Council and Southern Gas to resolve the incident as quickly and safely as possible.
Approximately 700 residents have been evacuated and placed in temporary accommodation until the scene is made safe. No injuries have been reported.
Detective Chief Superintendent Steve Rayland said: “This is an ongoing incident which has caused huge disruption to hundreds of people on a cold January morning, and I’d like to thank everyone for their patience and understanding as we continue to work with our partners to minimise the ongoing disruption.
“We are working hard to ensure this is dealt with as soon as possible to enable everyone to return home, however this may take several hours yet. In the meantime, we are urging everyone to stay away from the area to allow the responding agencies to focus on resolving the incident to allow residents to return home.
“The exact cause of the gas leak is yet to be determined but not believed to be criminal, and we will provide more information as soon as we are able to.”