Who saved all the pies? Underground ‘explosion’ causes chaos in Holloway - but Arsenal matchday snacks saved from the blaze

Annie Wong took this photo of flames leaping out from the pavement of Holloway Road

Annie Wong took this photo of flames leaping out from the pavement of Holloway Road - Credit: Archant

An underground “explosion” caused a restaurant to be evacuated and left more than a hundred people without power last night – but Arsenal’s matchday pies were saved from the flames.

Sam Mason tweeted this picture of the emergency services at the scene

Sam Mason tweeted this picture of the emergency services at the scene - Credit: Archant

The subterranean blaze in Holloway Road, near the junction with Liverpool Road, Holloway, took hold at about 10pm –staff at Sweethands called the fire brigade after seeing “thick, black smoke pulsing from the manhole”.

The resulting power cut meant the road was plunged into darkness, lit only by the flames and blue glare of the fire engines, ambulances, and police cars that rushed to the scene.

Elizabeth Mireku, a waitress at Sweethands, said: “It was really scary.

“We saw the smoke coming from the ground, then the manhole cover started jumping around – it was really moving.

The aftermath of the underground fire

The aftermath of the underground fire - Credit: Archant

“We called 999 and went upstairs to try and get the customers out – but by this time the smoke had reached up there. It was very frightening, but then the fire brigade came and led us out one by one.”

Paul Campbell, boss of the Arsenal-themed pie shop Piebury corner, said: “I had just put the kids to bed when I found out there was a fire outside the shop.

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“My first thought was about my staff – I wanted to make sure everyone was OK. We couldn’t get hold of the manager so I jumped in the car and went down.

“It as such a relief when I found out no one was hurt, and the shop hadn’t caught fire and burnt the matchday pies – we’d have had a lot of angry Gooners on Saturday.”

Paul Campbell outside the Piebury Corner

Paul Campbell outside the Piebury Corner - Credit: Archant

Firefighters tackled the blaze until midnight. One woman was treated at the scene for smoke inhalation and some homes were without power until 4.40am.

People in the area tweeted their shock and fear at the explosion.

One user, @Jess_Farley: “Pavement just exploded outside my flat on Holloway Road. Smoke everywhere and a complete power cut. Loads of fire engines and road blocked.”

Another, @KathrynLouise91, added: “Okay now starting to panic that there are fire engines police cars ambulances and the whole of Holloway road is blocked.”

London Fire Brigade Watch Manager Jim Farrell who was at the scene said: “There was lots of very thick, black smoke pulsing from the manhole and crews worked quickly to contain the fire. The Brigade goes to around 50 incidents involving electrical manhole covers every year in London.”

A spokesman for UK Power Networks, which manages London’s electricity supply, said; “The incident initially interrupted electricity supplies to 115 customers in the area.

“Our engineers attended to help the emergency services in making the area safe and carry out work to reconnect power supplies as quickly as possible. They had to isolate supplies to some further customers before reconnecting power in stages by 4.40am.

“The cause of the incident is being investigated.

“The safety of the public and our staff is UK Power Networks’ top priority.

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