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Wayfield Road in Chatham shut after fire impacts ‘electrical boxes’ at homes

Fire crews, police and engineers descended on several streets after reports of fires affecting “electrical boxes” at a number of homes.

Properties in Churchill Avenue, Wayfield Road, Montgomery Avenue and Cunningham Crescent, in Chatham, were all impacted by the ‘power surge’.

Police are on the scene after an electrical incident in Chatham
Police are on the scene after an electrical incident in Chatham

As such, an unplanned power cut originally impacted 412 customers, UK Power Networks say. This has since been reduced to 279 homes.

One resident said smoke was coming out of light switches and plug-in air fresheners shot out of the wall.

Wayfield Road has been closed as firefighters work alongside engineers from the power company to investigate the cause.

Crew members can be seen visiting each home individually.

Nick Johns, 38, of Montgomery Avenue, said: “I was at work my wife called she said the light switches had smoke coming out of them, were fizzing, banging and smoke coming out of the thermostat in the bathroom.

Seven fire engines have been sent to the area
Seven fire engines have been sent to the area

“So I rushed back thinking there was a squirrel in the loft chewing the cables.

“As I got back the wife said the fire brigade were here and it has affected 400 houses in the area so they have come round to make it safe.

“But now we have found out it'll be days before the power comes back on.

“I suppose it's out of their control and they are working on it from their end, but where does it leave us? We don't know at the moment what happens now.

“They said we can go out and get some food for tonight and we'll be reimbursed and for any damage it has caused but what do we do now if it is going to be days? Where do we live?

UK Power Networks are also at scene
UK Power Networks are also at scene

“Are they going to put us in a hotel and if so do we pay for that?

“The fireman did say there were two house fires that they know of, I don't know if they had to put them out or what.

“We have had smoke out of our equipment and next door had it coming from theirs.

“A neighbour said she had aroma plug-ins that came shooting out of the wall on fire.”

Another resident, from Wayfield Road, said: "All we have been told is that there's been a power surge.

"All our electrical appliances were sparking.

"They are apparently going around now checking each home in the area."

Seven fire engines were sent to the area at 1.30pm, with police also in attendance.

The fire service’s volunteer response team is on-hand to provide advice to affected residents.

Station manager Graham Porter
Station manager Graham Porter

Graham Porter, station manager, said: “At the moment KFRS are responding to reports of electrical boxes smoking within homes in Chatham.

“We have had seven fire engines in attendance and are working alongside UKPN to find the source of the issue.

“It is effecting homes in Churchill Avenue, Wayfield Road, Montgomery Avenue and Cunningham Crescent. At present we have roads in the surrounding areas that have been closed so we advise to check traffic updates before travelling.

“We have no estimated time of resolution.”

A statement from UK Power Networks revealed it is unknown when the power will come back on.

There are a number of power cuts in the area
There are a number of power cuts in the area

A spokesman said: “UK Power Networks engineers are working hard to restore power to 279 properties in the Stalin Avenue area of Chatham.

“For safety reasons, following a fault on the electricity network at 1.31pm today (Tuesday, August 8), we turned off supplies to 412 customers, with 133 reconnected at 6.24pm.

“Work will continue round the clock to reconnect the remaining supplies as quickly as possible.

“Our customer support vehicle and advisors will be on site to help residents and vulnerable customers.

“We will be providing hot food and drinks and offering a temporary power supply for charging phones and wifi.

Wayfield Road has been cordoned off
Wayfield Road has been cordoned off

“Our specialist contractors will be checking electrical equipment in customer properties and will repair any items damaged due to the fault. Residents will be kept updated.”

The firm has sent a customer support vehicle to the area. It is located at the junction Montgomery Avenue and Stalin Avenue. There is also a helpline for people to call: 0800 3163105.

UK Powernetworks believes the problem lies with a fault in an underground power cable which may take several days to repair.

People are being advised to check for traffic updates before travelling.

Listen to kmfm for the latest travel information.

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