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British bomb disposal units carried out a controlled explosion on a car smelling of gasoline early Saturday, police said.

Hundreds of homes were evacuated overnight in the western city of Bristol after officers were alerted to a suspicious vehicle in a densely residential area.

Teams swooped in shortly before 4 a.m. and carried out several controlled explosions, setting up a 660-foot exclusion zone.

As many as 460 homes were evacuated and occupants were sent to a rest center at a nearby school, according to officials.

"Public safety is a priority for us and the exclusion area was set-up as a necessary precaution," Chief Supt. Geoff Spicer of Avon and Somerset Police said.

"We will be carrying out a full and thorough investigation into this incident now the controlled explosions have taken place."

Spicer said there were indications this was an isolated incident linked to an "ongoing dispute."

The area was likely to remain cordoned off for several hours as investigators continued to investigate.

- Christina Boyle