Londoners in Danger From Exploding Sidewalks
Power company looking into the problem
By Evann Gastaldo, Newser Staff
Posted Jun 19, 2013 1:34 PM CDT
   (Shutterstock)

(Newser) – A bizarre but serious danger in London: exploding sidewalks, which have injured at least five people since January 2012 and also have damaged cars and buildings. The problem could have to do with water or gas entering electric cables underneath the sidewalks, and the UK's Health and Safety Executive has ordered London's power network operator to complete a major investigation and come up with solutions. One man recalls his near miss: As he stepped into the road to avoid a puddle, he heard an explosion behind him. "I turned back and saw a big fire gushing up," he tells CNN.

Three women who were hurt last year weren't so lucky; one of them was burned over 20% of her body and suffered "life-changing" injuries. Two others were hurt by exploding cable boxes and cable pits. UK Power Networks says these "relatively few cases" have been caused by faults in their equipment or third-party error; the company oversees around 100,000 cable boxes and 22,000 miles of cable. It says it will spend tens of millions to make sure everything is safe over the next few years.

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Showing 3 of 11 comments
Ivan_the_Gypsy
Jun 20, 2013 12:49 AM CDT
This happens all the time in New York City when electrical transformer vaults under the streets explode; high pressure steam mains blow out, gas mains leak and explode, and cars fall into gigantic pot holes the city refuses to fix.
Libris_Fidelis
Jun 19, 2013 11:34 PM CDT
This is so silly. It's because of all those beans the Londoners eat for breakfast!
793tango
Jun 19, 2013 8:22 PM CDT
I know it's dangerous and people can get hurt but the words 'exploding sidewalks' just make me laugh. Sounds like a really corny Dr Who episode...or a Monty Python sketch.