Luton businessman Qumar Zaman is flaming after National Grid took more than an hour and a half to respond to an emergency call at 5.17pm on Monday.
Contractors at his Selbourne Road home ruptured a gas pipe at the front of the property causing flames to leap into the air.
Mr Zaman, 37, said: “I smelled gas and then suddenly a fire came out of nowhere. I took off backwards and made an immediate 999 distress call.
“Top marks to the police and fire brigade – they were there immediately. They cordoned off the road and evacuated my neighbours.
“But it took National Grid more than an hour and a half to respond. They really let us down. The whole street was inconvenienced because their response time was so bad.”
He added: “I intend taking it up with the ombudsman.”
A workman was removing old concrete with a pick axe prior to laying a new driveway when he hit the pipe.
Tariq Mohammed of TM Home Improvements said: “It was far too shallow. “It’s supposed to be at least 18in below street level and there was too much slack.”
A fire brigade spokesman said three crews and a specialist incident support vehicle had been sent to the site: “Rather than extinuishing the flame, which would have resulted in a gas cloud, they created a fire break ‘heat shield’ with a pile of bricks.”
A National Grid spokeswoman said: “We were alerted by the fire service at 5.21pm and our engineer was on the scene by 6.07pm, within the one hour guideline. The meter was made safe and a team returned on Tuesday to effect a permanent repair.”