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Underground explosion blew a hole in the street and sent large blocks of concrete flying through the air.
People have described their sense of panic when a fire caused a street explosion.
A faulty high-voltage electric cable caused an underground blaze and a subsequent explosion at the junction of Forest Road and Palmerston Road in Walthamstow at around 8.30pm.
Large blocks of concrete were blown into the air and Coral Baker said she feared the worst.
“I thought it was a bomb,” the 72-year-old added.
“I heard a loud boom and all the lights went out and the debris and pavement bricks were all across the road.”
She described how police immediately arrived and ordered people back into their homes.
There were no injuries, despite St Patrick’s Day revellers congregating outside the Lord Palmerston pub opposite the scene of the explosion, which left a large hole in the pavement.
Yogathasan Saravanamuthu, the owner of a corner shop opposite the site of the explosion, was serving customers at the time.
“I heard a big noise and I thought someone was robbing me, kicking down the door of my shop,” the 44-year-old said.
“I looked over and the corner of the road had blown up, all the concrete was all over the road.”
Nearby properties were left without power for 10 minutes after the incident.
National Grid workers are currently at the scene to ensure there is no chance of a gas leak.
According to a spokesman the high voltage incident, of which there have been several recently in central London, is the first to be reported in outer London.
The cause of the faulty cable is being investigated.
A spokeswoman from UK Power Networks said engineers attended the scene last night to ensure the area was safe.
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