Page last updated at 08:59 GMT, Thursday, 8 May 2008 09:59 UK

Probe into fatal sub-station fire

Bishop Hall Lane fire (Picture by David Abott)
Firefighters were called to Bishop Hall Lane in Chelmsford

An investigation is under way after a fatal explosion and fire at an electricity sub-station in Essex.

A member of staff working for EDF Energy died at the sub-station in Chelmsford on Wednesday afternoon.

Firefighters were called to Bishop Hall Lane in the town after the explosion covered the area with smoke.

Thousands of homes and a hospital were without electricity but have since been reconnected this morning, although EDF said they may suffer more power cuts.

Anglia Ruskin University's Chelmsford Campus was evacuated after the explosion and still remains closed.

I would not risk my crews unless I was 100% sure they would not get an electric shock
Neil Fenwick
Essex Fire and Rescue Service

A 200m (656ft) exclusion zone set up by firefighters when they arrived on the scene has now been lifted but there is a protective cordon around the sub-station area.

Firefighters used foam to fight the blaze, which was extinguished at about 1800 BST.

Neil Fenwick, assistant divisional officer with Essex Fire and Rescue Service, said: "With a 132kv (kilovolts) coming into that sub station - that's a hell of a shock.

"I would not risk my crews unless I was 100% sure they would not get an electric shock."

Steve Bennett, the secretary of Anglia Ruskin, told the BBC: "The campus is closed for today so we can get our systems back up and running but the campus will be open for usual business tomorrow."

EDF said they were co-operating fully with the Heath and Safety Executive and police inquiries.


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