THERE was double trouble with electricity supplies in Fleetwood as a major power cut hit the town before an underground cable exploded, cutting off supplies for a second time.
In the second incident, on Poulton Street, a paving stone was thrown in the air and a 45-year-old man had to be taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital suffering from smoke inhalation after the cable smouldered.
The explosion happened outside the Halifax bank,
Emergency services blocked off the section of Poulton Street, from Lord Street to its junction with Poulton Road, causing traffic tailbacks at one of the town’s busiest spots.
After two hours the length of cable was isolated and the fire brigade were able to leave, allowing repairs to be made in the early evening.
It is believed the cable problem may have been caused by a torrential downpour shortly before 12.15pm.
A spokesman for Electricity North West said: “If rain gets into the joints of a cable it can cause a failure.”
Fire brigade crew manager Kevin Warwick added: “We had to stand by because there was a risk of it happening again.
“A man had to be taken to hospital.
“If there is acrid smoke, even if there is not a lot, it can affect people.”
Photographer Robert Stead, who has a shop – RS Studios – on Poulton Street, said: “We had just got the power back on after the first cut and it suddenly went dark again.
“I didn’t hear the explosion but I couldn’t do any work.”
Only a handful of premises in the area were affected, but in the first incident, from 10am, 656 properties in the town centre and beyond were plunged into darkness for about 90 minutes.
Among the places affected was Fleetwood Market which was full of visitors.
Stallholder Robert Brown said: “Things just went dark and we couldn’t make a cup of tea. But we managed to deal with customers and people used things like torches and lights from mobile phones to get around.
“People usually moan about things, but they got on with it and we were OK.”
The first power cut had been caused by a fault at a sub-station on Siding Road, Fleetwood.