Video: Underground explosion forces 50 to be evacuated as flames erupt from Islington street this morning

Firefighters from Islington tackled the blaze

Firefighters from Islington tackled the blaze - Credit: Archant

An underground explosion forced 50 people to be evacuated from homes and shops as flames erupted from beneath the street this morning.

Flames erupted from underground

Flames erupted from underground - Credit: Archant

The blast took place under Caledonian Road, Islington, at around 9am, causing fire to pour out of a manhole cover outside Iceland and shutting off power for many business and residences.

The road was closed in both directions while firefighters from Islington station headed to the scene and had the blaze under control just after 10am.

Umit Bakir, who runs Express 2000 minicabs a few doors down, said: “The bulb in my office kept flickering so I knew something was going on with the electrics.

“I looked outside and I could see the fire coming up from underground. Then the fire brigade came and closed the road.

“My business was far enough away, but if I had been at Iceland I would have been a bit worried.”

A spokesman for the fire brigade confirmed the blaze had started among the power lines under the street and 50 people had been evacuated as a precaution.

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He added an electrical man hole cover had been completely destroyed by the flames.

Police confirmed they were aware of a small underground explosion.