A “big explosion” caused by an underground electrical fire led to the evacuation of a stretch of busy high street.

Emergency services were called to reports of plumes of smoke coming from the pavement in High Street, Walthamstow, yesterday at 6pm.

This morning debris and chunks of pavement lifted from the floor remain in a cordoned off area.

Rizwan Haffez, assistant manager at Pak’s Cosmetics, described the moment he heard the explosion outside his store.

He said: “The first sign was all the lights started blinking throughout the shop.

“Two minutes later we heard this big blast coming from outside.

“It was a very big explosion with a huge boom and my shop was completely filled with smoke.

“You couldn’t see anything inside, I was scared and had no idea what was happening.

"I panicked and ran outside. The pavement tiles had been blasted high off the floor.

“We had to close for two hours and get all the staff out of the store. The smell was horrible of burning plastic.

“I have had to spray all my products with air freshener this morning.

“The world hasn’t ended but it was scary.”

A London Fire Brigade spokesman confirmed there were no injuries caused by the explosion.

He said: “We were called to reports of smoke issuing from pavement due to an underground electrical fire.

“We contained the area whilst UK Power Networks isolated the power supply.

“It is generally not a good idea to put water on an electrical fire so we waited for them to isolate the incident.

“There were no injuries and we left the scene by 8.20 pm.”

A UK Power Networks spokesman said: “Yesterday evening there was a fault to a piece of our equipment in the High Street area of Walthamstow, which resulted in smoke appearing from the cover of an electrical junction box.

"Our engineers were quickly on site to help make the area safe and carry out repairs to fix the fault.

"Unfortunately, in order to resolve the problem, we were forced to isolate power supply to 28 customers at 8pm while we carried out essential repairs.

"UK Power Networks apologises for any inconvenience caused, and a full investigation will now be carried out to determine the cause of the fault.”