Power cut after substation fire

Sarah Brealey The power is off in most of Bungay after a fire in an electricity substationTwo fire engines were sent from Beccles and Bungay after the fire broke out at 9.30am.

Sarah Brealey

Power is being gradually restored to Bungay after an explosion and fire in an electricity substation

More than half the town now has electricity after the blaze broke out this morning, but 1,000 homes and businesses are still without power.

The fire happened in the Bungay primary 11 kilovolt switch control room on Rose Lane. A large amount of smoke hung over the site and there were also reports of two explosions. The building was gutted by fire and the first explosion blew the door off. The switch room is heavily damaged, but the fire did not spread beyond the substation,

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Two fire engines were sent from Beccles and Bungay after the fire broke out at 9.30am but could not fight the fire for some time because of the need to turn off the electricity supply. There are seven live supplies which feed the room which needed to be isolated by electricity supplier EDF before firefighting could begin. There were also gas bottles in the substation.

The fire brought the town to a standstill, with post office, banks and building societies forced to close because they could not operate their computers. Clays printers, best known for producing the Harry Potter books, was also hit.

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The Green Dragon pub spent the day desperately trying to find generators to keep 2,000 gallons of beer cool. Mel Rush, from the pub, said: “We have managed to get in a generator on the brewery side, but not in the cellar. I am having to wash all the glasses by hand, but we are coping.”

The Red Cross went into the town to help people without power. Working from a van in the library car park, they were providing hot drinks and information on how the work was progressing, as well as calling on vulnerable residents.

A flash was seen over Bungay marshes, believed to be linked to the explosion, but rumours that the power cut was due to an aircraft hitting power lines were unfounded.

Fire service assistant divisional officer Steve Mableson said this morning: “We have recent reports of an explosion. We now in attendance waiting for the isolation of the electricity and confirmation reference potential hazardous materials. Fire crews are on stand by at present.

“Locals have been told to remain indoors keeping doors and windows closed. The electricity is expected to be off all day.”

Don Sinclair, who is staying nearby, said: “I heard two massive explosions. The air was heavily buzzing as if something was going on so I went outside to see what was going on.”

A spokesman for EDF Energy Networks said: “Power was interrupted to several thousand customers in the Bungay area at 9.35am today after a fault developed within one of our substations. EDF Energy Networks engineers restored power in stages to the majority of customers throughout the morning. We are working as quickly and as safely as possible to restore supplies to the remaining 1,042 customers who are still without power. Temporary generators are en route to the site in order to restore supplies to these customers throughout this evening.

“We would like to apologise to all of our customers affected by this power cut for the inconvenience caused.”

Police spokesman Anne-Marie Breach said the cause of the fire was not thought to be suspicious.

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