Fire brings down power cables
9:10am Friday 28th September 2012 in By Emma Dunn, @EmmaDunnn
LIVE overhead power cables fell into the road after a fire broke out in a shed in Royal Wootton Bassett .
The blaze, which is thought to have been caused by an electrical fault, started in Wood Street yesterday morning and melted overhead electricity cables when it spread to a nearby telegraph pole.
The fire in the timber-framed and corrugated metal shed spread to the edge of the house but fire crews stopped it from going further.
John Church, 75, who has lived in the street for 40 years, was in the house with his wife and grandson when it started at about 10.45am.
“We were in the house having a cup of tea when my grandson, Ryan, saw it and said ‘grandad, your shed is on fire’,” said the retired engineer.
“I went out and had a look. I couldn’t get anywhere near it because it was up in flames.
“It has just all gone up in flames – it had paint, varnish, electrical items and a grindstone in.
“When the cables caught fire, that is when the fireworks started.
“I think it could have been an electrical fault but I’m not sure. It has caught the conservatory but the rest of the house is okay.”
Investigations into the cause of the fire are ongoing.
Paul Jarmey, watch manager at Westlea Fire Station, said: “When we arrived we were confronted with a well-developed house fire in a large outhouse adjacent to the property.
“It had spread to a nearby electricity pole, with about six downed electricity cables all across the roadway.
“The heat and fire had melted it. Also, the fire had started to spread to the corner of the property itself.”
A crew from Swindon checked the roof vent of the house for fire and also rescued a cat and a dog.
A spokesman for energy company SSE said 88 properties in Wood Street, Church Street and the surrounding area had been left without power, but an engineer was at the scene.
The road was closed while the fire service and police were at the scene.
Youngsters from The Hive toddler and baby group in the United Reformed Church, which is at the end of the road, were led out through Boroughfields car park.
Resident Christopher Howard, who lives in the house opposite where the fire took place, said: “It was quite spectacular because when the power cables started to burn there were sparks jumping from cable to cable and banging just like fireworks.
“But eventually the cables dropped in the road and of course that blocked people coming down.”
Wood Street resident Sheila Jacob added: “I came out of the house and saw the pole was on fire and the cable was sparking at the top.
“An off-duty fireman came up to me and told me to get back because the cables could fall. The fire engine arrived quickly.”