HOUSES were evacuated and rail services disrupted after a mystery gas cylinder was discovered at a rubbish fire at the Shanks Industrial site. Firefighters initially thought the canisters could have contained dangerous acetylene gas - but eventually this proved to be a false alarm.

It is believed that the canisters actually contained harmless helium gas.

The drama took place at the Commercial Road site on Thursday, April 5 at 6.25pm.

However, police had to be called to evacuate four nearby houses as a precaution and Network Rail were also called to warn them about the potential danger near the rail line.

John Diver, station commander at Barrhead Fire Station told the News: "We were called to a small rubbish fire at Shanks Industrial site - a location which we have regularly been called out to for similar reasons.

"On this occasion, officers spotted an unknown gas cylinder close to the fire.

"There was a concern that it could have been an acetylene cylinder and there is a procedure that needs to be followed in these situations. Obviously we erred on the side of caution but fortunately on later inspection it turned out to be less dangerous than initially feared.

"However, police had to be called and also Network Rail due to the site's proximity to the rail line and the risk of smoke drifting across the line."