Electrical fire below ground leads to power cut.
AN eyewitness has described the moment an electrical fire erupted from a drain and the manhole cover was blown out of the ground in Throckley.
Keith Henderson, who lives 50 yards from where the fire first erupted in Hexham Road, watched as flames and smoke billowed from underground. He said: "The first manhole, which is about 50 yards from my house, the top blew off and there were palls of smoke and flames pouring out of it.
"The fire brigade arrived and cordoned the road off.
"Then, about half an hour after they arrived, the other manhole burst into flames, so there's smoke and a few flames coming out of that one."
The fire service managed to get the blaze under control, but residents and shops are still without power.
Keith added: "I think they are just waiting for things to calm down and the electricity board to switch things off so that they can start a proper investigation."
Staff at Dhillons's Fish and Chips said: "All we saw was the fire in the road.
"Our power has been off since 5.30pm - it's a real loss of earnings on Friday night."
A Northumbria Police spokesman said that there is no danger to the public, and that they suspect the fire was caused by a power surge, but that investigations were ongoing.
Northern Powergrid was unavailable for comment.