People evacuated after explosion rocks Bridgnorth High Street

Businesses in Bridgnorth High Street were briefly evacuated after a loud explosion was heard.

The High Street was closed. Photo: Google
The High Street was closed. Photo: Google

Shropshire Fire and Rescue Service scrambled two appliances from Bridgnorth and Much Wenlock at 9.24am after receiving reports of a "hole in the pavement following explosion."

They initially classified the incident as a gas leak and sent an operations officer to join responders from gas, and electricity providers in investigating.

But a spokesperson for gas supplier Cadent confirmed it "was an electrical fault, Cadent will be handing over to Western Power Distribution" before leaving the site.

Western Power Distribution reported up to 86 properties being without power during the course of the morning.

"We are aware of this power cut incident which was raised at 8:11am and our engineers are working to get the power returned as quickly as possible," said the WPD website. They expected power to be restored to 44 properties by 4pm.

Andy Corfield, landlord at the Crown pub in High Street, said: "I was putting away my deliveries this morning. I had gone back upstairs and heard a loud bang.

"I looked outside and saw the bakery were just getting their delivery in, and I thought that someone had dropped some pallets."

But he added: "My other half called up and said that half our lights went out, and outside a manhole cover had blown off, and some of a paving stones were up as well.

"Because of what happened a couple of years ago I thought I had better call the fire brigade, and they were here very quick."

Another witness who did not wish to be named said businesses were briefly evacuated.

Bridgnorth town mayor Councillor Sarah Barlow praised the emergency services for their speedy response. No-one was believed to be hurt.

"All I know is that there was a small explosion," said Councillor Barlow, who is recovering after having covid for 10 days.

"The pavement was cracked outside one of the shops."

But she said the emergency services for responding.

"Thankfully nobody was hurt," she said. "I have nothing but praise for the emergency services and the way that they responded."

It is not the first time Bridgnorth has been disrupted in this kind of way.

In May 2019 a gas leak lead to the evacuation of buildings and several residents had to be housed for the evening by Bridgnorth Town Council.

In that incident the fire service said a fault in an electrical cable sat above the gas pipe caused a small explosion which ruptured the gas main. Luckily the gas was not ignited.

But Councillor Barlow said she believed the two incidents were probably "co-incidental".

By 11am today the emergency services had gone, but that work was still ongoing to restore electrical power to some businesses.

At 10.20am police confirmed that the road was open again, thanking people for their patience.

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