Cable thefts cause underground blaze

Many houses in the town were without electricity after an explosion and fire in a underground cable duct on Swansfield Park Road, it happened around 19.10pm. Firecrews were unable to tackle the fire until NEDL engineers isolated the supply. Steve Miller.

Many houses in the town were without electricity after an explosion and fire in a underground cable duct on Swansfield Park Road, it happened around 19.10pm. Firecrews were unable to tackle the fire until NEDL engineers isolated the supply. Steve Miller.

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DOZENS of homes were left without electricity in Alnwick last night as cable thefts led to an underground blaze.

Fire crews were called to Swansfield Park Road just after 7pm after the blaze erupted in a manhole.

Two teams from Alnwick extinguished it, but homes on surrounding roads, including Blakelaw Road, The Dunterns, and Meadow Riggs were left without power during the night.

And while working on the supply cabinet, NEDL workers found the fire had been caused due to a theft.

It is believed that sometime over the last two years thieves broke into the manhole cover and damaged cabling inside. As a result of the damage the elements had got inside the cabling and caused the fire. Inquiries into the damage are ongoing.

Two properties close to the fire were evacuated as a precaution and the roads surrounding the fire were closed for a few hours.

Northumberland Area Command Chief Supt Mark Dennett said: “As a result of mindless thieves a community has had their power cut causing a great inconvenience to families, elderly people and everyone living in the area.

“Whoever has done this risked their lives to get inside at the electrical cables and they are lucky they weren’t killed.

“The offence could have happened anytime over the last two years but enquiries will be carried out to try and find those responsible.

“I’d appeal for the public to pick up the phone and contact police if they see anyone tampering with or acting suspiciously around electricity supply cabinets, manhole covers, electricity substations or anywhere similar. Criminals don’t care how much trouble they cause to people’s lives or communities.”