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'Explosion' rocks Manchester retail park as faulty cable sparks 'loud bang' and power cut

By Ramazani Mwamba

Shop workers described hearing a 'loud bang' when a pavement 'exploded' in a Manchester retail park today. Emergency services were called to the blast in White City Retail Park in Old Trafford this afternoon.

Police cordoned off Powerhouse Fitness following the incident outside the gym which sparked a small fire at 1.40pm. About 25 properties suffered a power cut due to a fault with an underground electric cable, a spokesperson from Electricity North West said.

Staff who worked near the shopping park in Chester Road, close to Old Trafford football stadium, said they heard a 'loud bang' and saw a cloud of smoke billow from the pavement.

A Ford dealership worker told the Manchester Evening News : "I noticed a flash, there was a bit of an explosion and a small fire. "It came about 4ft off the ground, it wasn't that major but a bit bizarre.

"I didn't think the bang was that loud, but a couple of the lads in the workshop heard it and they all came out.

"The debris didn't hit any cars, but everyone was walking passed after it happened so I thought I put some cones out in case there was any dangerous gas. Power was out for about 15 to 20 minutes."

The damaged pavement where the blast happened today (Manchester Evening News)

Another member of staff who worked in the area said: "I heard a loud bang. I looked over and that's when I saw a black cloud come from the ground where it happened.

Engineers from Electricity Northwest and Cadent were on the scene along with emergency services as they worked to make the area safe.

A spokesperson for Greater Manchester Fire and Rescue Service (GMFRS) said: "At around 1.40pm on Friday 6 May, fire crews were called to an incident near a commercial property on Chester Road, Stretford.

"Two fire engines from Stretford and Sale stations arrived quickly at the scene.

"Firefighters remain in attendance and are working with colleagues from Greater Manchester Police and Trafford Council to make the area safe."

Part of Chester Road, Old Trafford, was cordoned off (Manchester Evening News)

A spokesperson for Electricity North West said: "We received reports of a power cut at 1.41pm affecting 25 properties on Chester Road due to a fault with an underground electricity cable.

"We responded immediately and using our automatic restoration systems power was restored to all properties within the hour at 2.28pm and now, teams of engineers are on site carrying out repair work to the damaged cable."

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