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Folkestone: Part of Sandgate Road cordoned off following an underground explosion

By Katie Davis

An area has been cordoned off after firefighters were sent out to an underground electrical explosion.

UK Power Network engineers and a fire engine were called out following the electrical explosion down a manhole in Sandgate Road, Folkestone.

It happened as the town's Remembrance Sunday parade was taking place and the sound of the bang is thought to have caused some mild panic. 

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Suspected underground electrical explosion. Pic Dominic Edwards

Suspected underground electrical explosion. Pic: Dominic Edwards

Folkestone town and Shepway district councillor Mary Lawes, who was at the service, said the explosion was a 'little unnerving'.

She said: "It happened as wreaths were being laid.

"There was a bang, then screams and smoke was then a metal sort of smell.

"The police and fire brigade went running to the scene.

"They were back fairly quick to re-assure that it was only an electric blow out underground.

"It was still burning and smoking as the parade passed by Debenhams heading for the Town Hall.

"I must admit it was a little unnerving given the climate we live in.

"I did head over to make sure my granddaughter was OK."Another witness said: "They were part of the way through the service when there was a loud pop.

"There was a big pop and smoke and people running towards it.

"There were a few voices of concern until people realised it wasn't anything too significant.

Firefighters put out the flames. Picture Andy Payton

Firefighters put out the flames. Picture: Andy Payton

"The firefighters who were at the service ran down to try and deal with it."

Kent Fire and Rescue Service sent one fire engine and were at the scene for two hours.

A spokesman said: "Crews used an extinguisher to put out fire in cable ducting.

"Duty of care for incident was handed over to UK Power representatives."

A spokesman for UK Power Nerworks said: "UK Power Networks engineers are on site after a fault developed on the underground cable network.

"We have temporarily turned off some supplies in the area to resolve this and we apologise for any inconvenience caused."

UK Power Networks are at the scene and some shops have had their power affected.

A spokesman from the O2 shop on Sandgate Road said: "Our power has been cut because of it.

"We have been unable to trade because of it, and they don't reckon it'll be back on for five or six hours yet.

"They are digging the road up now and have said it was just an electrical fault, nothing sinister."

The bang caused concern. Picture Andy Payton

The bang caused concern. Picture: Andy Payton

A spokesman from The Works, Sandgate Road, said: "I heard from a colleague that it was an electrical fault which firemen couldn't put out, so they had wait for people from the power company to come out.

"It hasn't affected our power at all."

UK Power Network is advising customers to use its interactive fault map for information on power restoration, if affected by the explosion.

Police were not involved in the incident.

 

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