1. ITV Report

Major incident declared as underground fire leaves 500 homes without power

Photo: PA

A multi-agency response is underway this evening after more than 500 homes were left without electric following a fire in Newcastle.

At around 3.20pm this afternoon police received a report of an underground electrical fire on Ponteland Road in Cowgate.

Emergency services responded to the incident and Tyne and Wear Fire Service were able to bring the fire under control.

Nobody was injured and there was only minor disruption to traffic in the area, however, the fire caused large-scale disruption to homes in the area.

Around 500 homes have been left without power and, due to the cold temperatures and adverse weather, a major incident has been declared by police and partners.

A reception centre has been set up at the Morrisons supermarket on Two Ball Lonnen where a number of partner agencies are in attendance.

Residents affected by the power cut are being invited to attend the rest centre at the supermarket who have agreed to stay open past their 10pm closing time.

There they will be able to chat to representatives from the blue light services, the local authority and the British Red Cross.

Superintendent George Maratty tonight reassured residents that Northern Powergrid were working hard to get power back up and running.

"We recognise that this disruption will be having a significant effect on a number of households in the Cowgate area tonight.

The temperatures are very cold due to the adverse weather and a large number of residents have been left without power and therefore no central heating.

Not only is this very uncomfortable but it can actually be very dangerous for any vulnerable residents who may be elderly or live alone.

Our officers have been visiting residents but we would ask neighbours and family members of these vulnerable residents to keep them in mind this evening.

We are working closely with partners to support those people affected and Northern Powergrid are doing all they can to get things up and running.

The British Red Cross are in attendance at a reception centre at Morrisons and we want to thank staff there who have offered to stay open until this issue has been resolved.

To those people without power, please do make the most of this centre. You can get a cup of coffee and some hot food while engineers work to get the electricity back on.

I want to personally thank the local community for their co-operation tonight. It has been a tough evening but everyone has come together to look after each other during the disruption."

– Superintendent George Maratty, Northumbria Police

Anyone affected by the power cut can visit the reception centre at Morrisons and follow @northumbriapol on Twitter for update.

There are a number of officers also down on Ponteland Road and they are happy to speak to any residents who have concerns.