SHOCKED workers have described the moment the ground opened up in front of their eyes.
A faulty junction box installed beneath a pavement triggered power cuts in offices on Blackpool Business Park, South Shore, before finally exploding.
The force of the explosion lifted the asphalt and concrete out of the ground and workers described seeing flames spewing from the fissure.
Derek Henderson, manager of City Plumbing Supplies on Amy Johnson Way, said: “There was a great bang and flash, then the pavement was on fire.
“I thought a car had blown up at first and there were flames coming out of the grass verge.”
Leslie Moody, 43, from James Hall & Co sandwich factory, added: “There was a big bang and the pavement flew up and a lot of flames started coming out the ground.
“It was pretty frightening and I was scared because I didn’t know how bad the damage was.”
Colleague Susan Oliver, 52, added: “It was a huge shock and I didn’t know what was going to happen next.
“I thought something had exploded in the airport until I saw what had happened.”
Police and firefighters from South Shore and St Annes attended the scene at 8.45am to make the area safe, while engineers from Electricity North West repaired the equipment.
Watch manager Steve Palmer, from South Shore Fire Station, said: “A junction box buried under the ground overloaded and exploded.
“The pavement has lifted with the force of the explosion so we cordoned the area off.”
A spokesman for Electricity North West said: ““We had two generators on site and were waiting for a third to arrive to get everybody back on.
“All but 24 customers have their power back on out of the 60 effected.
“Once everyone is back we will be carrying out some investigation work.”