West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service has released dramatic CCTV footage of the moment a house exploded, just yards from firefighters and the residents they rescued seconds earlier in a Castleford street.. The explosion was caused by interference with an overhead electricity line by thieves attempting to steal the copper conductor.
The shocking footage, was captured by the brigade‟s silent witness‟ cameras, attached to fire engines, during an incident in Rhodes Street, Castleford, last Friday.
Crews had been called to reports of a small kitchen fire, but when they arrived found a string of small fires in a row of six terraced houses. Firefighters quickly rescued the occupants from all the houses, including two people from upstairs bedrooms using ladders. As the film shows, only seconds later an explosion tore through the row of homes.
Around 30 people were evacuated, two houses were partly demolished and four further houses suffered extensive fire and blast damage. One firefighter was taken to hospital with minor cuts.
Investigations have revealed that the blast was caused after a piece of cable was cut from an overhead line. This affected the earthing of the electrical network in the area and resulted in some unusual electrical activity, which affected some of the gas pipes within the properties. This resulted in the fires and explosion. The fire service has issued strong warnings to the public to leave cables alone.