Birmingham & Black Country

Substation fire in Selly Oak causes power cut

Scene (pic: Vladimir Akopyan)
Image caption Crews from four fire engines dealt with the blaze

About 50,000 properties lost power after a Birmingham substation fire.

Western Power Distribution said the fire on Tuesday evening broke out at a primary substation near the Battery Park retail park in Selly Oak.

Homes and businesses in Edgbaston, Selly Oak, Harborne and Bournville were among those affected by the power cut.

It led to the temporary closure of Bristol Road, between Bournbrook Road and Harborne Lane, as traffic lights were also affected.

London Midland said trains were suspended between Birmingham New Street and Longbridge because of the fire at Selly Oak, but services were operating as normal on Wednesday morning.

Western Power, which handles electricity distribution for the Midlands, said power was lost at about 20:20 GMT on Tuesday and the vast majority of properties had supplies restored by 22:30 GMT.

It said generators had been given to the University of Birmingham, where parts of the campus were still without supplies on Wednesday, but power had been restored to all other properties in the city.

About 26,000 of them had their supplies back within three minutes, Western Power said.

'Intermittent power'

A spokesman added that two 132,000 volt cables at the substation were damaged by the fire and said investigations into the cause would take place later.

He said: "We want to apologise for the inconvenience. We understand it is difficult, especially as it was into the evening.

"I would praise the work from our team and the fire service, who were there very quickly and were very co-operative with us."

In a statement, the university said several of its buildings were due to be shut for most of Wednesday because of the lack of power. It told students their teaching could be affected but to turn up as usual.

The university said power at some halls of residence would be "intermittent throughout the day" but said it was hoping it would return to full power by the evening.

It urged staff and students to only use "essential power".

West Midlands Police said there was nothing to suggest the fire was suspicious.

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