Dramatic moment pylon exploded during Didcot Power Station demolition

Several people were injured when Didcot power station was demolished causing a power cut affecting 40,000 people, it has emerged.

The cooling towers at the site in Oxfordshire were demolished yesterday morning, over two years after a collapse in the boiler house of the plant killing four men.

A spokesman for energy firm SSEN said there was damage to their network at Sutton Courtenay shortly after 7am and power was down for around an hour and a half.

Pictures from the scene show a huge plume of smoke rising from an electricity pylon and sparks showering people underneath.

Footage shows part of the structure flying away from the cooling towers moments after the explosives were detonated.

A mum who had gone to watch the demolition with her two daughters, five and three, said they were burned.

She said: ‘For a brief moment I thought someone had let off fireworks, but it rained down with sparks that burned and we got burned.

‘My five-year-old ran away so she wasn’t hurt, but the three-year-old was busy watching videos and some of her hair was burned, but she’s fine now, it’s mostly got her hair.’

A spokesman said: ‘Initial investigations have confirmed that this morning’s power cut was caused by material related to the demolition of Didcot Power Station striking our overhead electricity network.

‘During the demolition, a large section of debris protection material became detached from one of the cooling towers and made contact with our 33kV overhead line, which was outside of the advised perimeter.

‘This resulted in significant damage to the overhead line and subsequent network faults.

‘We are in contact with the station owner, RWE, to support them in their incident investigation alongside our own internal review into the network fault. SSEN takes its responsibility to public safety seriously.

‘We are aware of reports of minor injuries and damage caused by the incident at Sutton Courtenay and are working with the police and other agencies to identify those impacted.

‘We would ask anyone affected to contact us through the power cut helpline 105 so we can investigate further.’

Brown and Mason, which carried out Sunday’s demolition, referred inquiries to RWE.

RWE said: ‘The three cooling towers at Didcot A Power Station are down. We have received the SSE statement on the power cut and we will look at this very carefully and further investigate what has exactly happened.’

Didcot A stopped operation in 2013 after running for 43 years. Three of its towers were demolished in 2014.

Christopher Huxtable, 33, from Swansea, South Wales, Kenneth Cresswell, 57, and John Shaw, 61, both from Rotherham, South Yorkshire, and Michael Collings, 53, from Saltburn-by-the-Sea, Teesside, died after the partial collapse of the boiler house at the Didcot A plant in February 2016.

Thames Valley Police and the Health and Safety Executive had launched a joint investigation to consider corporate manslaughter, gross negligence manslaughter and health and safety offences.

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