Just under 100 people living and working in Bletchley’s Queensway were without power for seven hours yesterday evening when an underground electricity junction box was at risk of ‘exploding’.
Firefighters from Bletchley and Great Holm were called to the junction of Queensway and Oxford Street at around 4pm after reports of smoke from a drain outside Barclays Bank.
Crews cordoned off the area and closed the road to protect the public while they waited for Western Power Distribution (WPD) to arrive to isolate the substations and investigate the cause of the smoke.
In the meantime, 16 WPD customers were affected, with shops being evacuated and closed down early while there was still a threat of fire.
Palmers Family Butcher was one of the Queensway shops to lose power and its manager, Keith Burgess, was forced to wait until the power was back on until he could go home for the night.
This morning Keith was taking a well earned rest, said the owner, Dejon Terry.
He said: “We couldn’t even close the shutters until the power was back on so staff were at the shop until around 11.30pm.
“We have lost thousands of pounds in trade, easily, because between about 3pm to 5.30pm is our busiest time.
“But at the end of the day, what can you do? Things break, these things happen in life, I can’t complain because they were there very quickly and sorted it out in the end.
“We’re happy to be all back on now and it’ll all be forgotten about in a few days.”
Speaking to the Citizen at the scene, Watch Manager Andy Vernon from Bletchley, whose crews were on standby at the scene in case a fire broke out, said: “At the start there was a real risk of fire, potential spread and maybe an explosion but that seems to have diminished now as the time goes on.”
A Western Power Distribution spokesman said: “At 4.15pm yesterday 16 customers were affected due to a fault on an underground cable that was next to a link box.
“Around 77 customers were taken off supply so repairs could be carried out and everyone was restored by 12.20am. “We apologise for any inconvenience caused to customers.”