UPDATE: Power back after explosion

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AN EXPLOSION at an electrical sub-station in Horsham has caused wide-spread disruption across the town centre after power was lost this morning (Tuesday February 21).

Firefighters attended the scene in North Street near the Horsham offices for West Sussex County Council at 8.51am.

A spokesperson for West Sussex Fire and Rescue said: “We were called after an explosion was heard and smoke was seen coming out of the vents at the sub-station.

“We had to stand by and wait for the electricity company to deem it safe. They have now entered the station and isolated the electrics.”

More than 100 people had to be evacuated from the county council building and the Royal Sun Alliance building to Horsham park.

While shops, offices and units across Horsham town centre have been forced to close due to the large scale power cut.

More than 1,500 customers of UK Power Networks lost power this morning.

However, the company say it was regained at 9.59am.

Swan Walk shopping centre is up and running again after nearly all its units closed earlier.

Gill Buchanan, Swan Walk shopping centre manager told the County Times at 9.35am: “We like many other shops and offices all around town are currently without power.

“At this moment in time we have Marks and Spencers on a back up generator still open.

“We are running our generator to make sure the safety of our fire panels and the emergency lighting at the back of shops are still running.”

She added it was likely ‘for the safety of customers’ Swan Walk would be forced to close if power was not restored this morning.

A spokesperson from UK Power Networks said: “UK Power Networks worked as quickly and safely as possible to restore power to 1,574 customers in Horsham, whose supplies were interrupted at 8.46am today following a fault on the high voltage electricity network.

“Power was restored to 178 customers almost immediately and the remainder were back on supply at 9.59am.

“We would like to apologise to customers for the inconvenience caused.”

County Times reporter Ollie McAteer said he could “smell smoke right across Horsham Park” where more than 100 staff from County Hall North have been evacuated to this morning.

Are you affected? Were you evacuated from the building?

Contact Ollie McAteer on 01403 751267 or email your pictures to ollie.mcateer@sussexnewspapers.co.uk