Man fights for life after blast

999 incident with police fire and gas board in attendance on Garstang Road East, Poulton
999 incident with police fire and gas board in attendance on Garstang Road East, Poulton
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A man was taken to hospital with face and neck burns after an “explosion” on a railway bridge when a hydraulic jack hammer went through an underground electricity cable.

The 34-year-old workman was last night critically ill in Blackpool Victoria Hospital after the blast at 1pm yesterday on Garstang Road East, Poulton, close to the junction with Moorland Road.

The incident shut down power to 1,770 homes and businesses in Poulton and left the road closed for hours.

The man was one of eight working on structural alterations to the railway bridge at Garstang Road East.

Witnesses reported hearing a bang and feeling the ground “rumble” before power went out.

Emergency crews, including fire engines, an ambulance and a number of police vehicles, were called to the scene. The man was taken to Blackpool Victoria Hospital suffering burns to his face and neck.

Passer-by Jake Ashton said: “There was a massive bang and a rumble.

“Apparently a guy was on a breaker and has gone through a 11,000 cable and its blown up.

“There’s quite a big hole in the road now.”

Crew manager Glenn Thwaites, from Blackpool fire station, said: “We were called to the incident at approximately 12.45pm after reports of an explosion and one male injured by a power line.

“They’re doing structural alterations to this bridge and are excavating down, and hit a power line.

“The man is suffering the effects of burns to his face and his description is described as critical.

“There is no damage to the railway lines but we had to close the road.”

Firefighters from Blackpool and Bispham helped to make the scene safe.

An engine from Blackpool remained while investigations continued, along with representatives from the Health and Safety Executive.

A spokesman for Electricity North West said: “1,770 homes’ power supply was off, caused by third party damage to one of our underground cables.

“It looks like a workman has accidentally hit one of our cables which caused a power cut.

“Our engineers arrived on site soon after and power was restored by around 2.45pm.”

While the work was being carried out on the railway bridge Network Rail have said it was not engineering work on the trainline.

A spokesman said: “It was not a railway related incident and there was no impact on train services.”

Temporary traffic lights are likely to be in place on the bridge for the next two days while repairs are carried out.

Garstang Road East resident Anne Hargreaves said: “I was out walking the dogs and couldn’t get past the bridge.

“I wondered what was going on.

“It’s a real shame, I hope he’s alright.”

A resident of nearby Holts Lane, who did not want to be named, said: “I heard some kind of noise and a policeman told me they’d hit a power cable.”