Page last updated at 10:29 GMT, Saturday, 10 May 2008 11:29 UK

Blast victim months from retiring

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

A power worker killed in an explosion at an electricity sub-station in Essex had been due to retire at the end of the year relatives have said.

John Higgins, 59, died from burns and breathing in toxic gases at the EDF sub station in Bishop Hall Lane, Chelmsford, on Wednesday.

The explosion left thousands of people without power and led to nearby homes and businesses being evacuated.

Experts are still trying to establish the cause of the blast.

In a statement, Mr Higgins's family said: "We are devastated by the loss of John, a wonderful loving husband, son, father, grandfather, brother and a good friend to so many.

'Dreadful time'

"John has left a huge hole in our lives which will never be filled.

"He was looking forward to a well-deserved early retirement with his wife Sheila in six months' time and had absolutely everything to live for.

"The whole family asks to be left in peace at this dreadful time to try and come to terms with this pointless loss of life.

"We would like to thank the police for their support and will be following the investigation very closely as we need to comprehend the circumstances that led to this horrific incident."

The disruption is likely to continue into the weekend, an EDF Energy spokesman has said.


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