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

(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.

  (Shutterstock)
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