BREAKING NEWS: Nearly 300 homes in Rainham lose power after theives cause electrical fires

Almost 300 homes in Rainham are currently without power due to cable thefts this morning which caused residents’ electrical equipment to smoke and two small fires to break out.

Electricity officials and the British Red Cross are currently on the scene to give advice and help to residents after their power had to be turned off for safety reasons.

Earlier today nine fire crews were called out to the area around Brook Way after two electricity meters caught fire, and resident’s DVD players, TVs, kettles and other equipment began smoking and sparking.

The cable was stolen from an electrical substation in Rothbury Avenue at around 11am.

Crew Manager William Larter from Wennington Fire Station said: “When we first arrived there were people everywhere. When you first get to a fire there’s usually someone directing you straight to the fire, but there were so many people with problems, unfortunately they all had smoking TVs and other equipment.”

Two small fires in electric metres outside houses in Brook Way and Rothbury Ave went out thanks to their fuses working properly, but crews remained on hand monitoring the situation and providing advice for around two hours.

A spokesman for UK Power Networks said: “For safety reasons and to prevent any further damage, UK Power Networks temporarily interrupted supplies to 283 customers at 12.45pm.

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“UK Power Networks has committed a large team of engineers to check the supply to affected properties in the area of Brook Way, Penerley Road, Rothbury Avenue, Beechwood Gardens, Elizabeth Road and South Hall Drive.

“We have also called in independent specialists to help check customers’ wiring and appliances.”

He added: “The repair has now nearly been completed and power will be restored as quickly as is safely possible, as soon as we have completed safety checks.

“We will also be writing to all the customers affected and offering a payment.”

The company said it will push for prosecution of the thieves, who were taking their lives in their hands by entering the substation.

Anyone with information on the theft should call the police on 101.

More to follow.