A DRAMATIC video showing a house exploding after thieves targeted an overhead electricity line has been released by the fire service.
West Yorkshire Fire and Rescue Service (WYFRS) has taken the unusual step of releasing the CCTV footage to warn people about the dangers of tampering with electricity and gas equipment.
WYFRS senior operations response officer Ian Bitcon said: “We have already had one fatality as a result of cable theft. If people continue to tamper with equipment on the electricity network, it is only a matter of time before more people die.”
The video shows the moment the house exploded just yards from firefighters and the people they rescued seconds earlier. The explosion was caused by interference with an overhead electricity line by thieves attempting to steal the copper conductor.
The shocking footage was captured by cameras attached to fire engines during an incident in Castleford last Friday.
the blast was caused after a piece of cable was cut from an overhead line. This affected the earthing of the electrical network in the area and resulted in some unusual electrical activity, which affected some of the gas pipes within the properties and led to fires and the explosion.
WYFRS has now joined forces with CE Electric UK, Northern Gas Networks and West Yorkshire Police to get its message across.
CE Electric, which distributes power throughout the north, is dealing with five metal thefts a day.
Recently the compnay wrote to people in Mirfield and Spen asking them to be on the lookout for suspicious behaviour around local substations. In Spen there have been around 36 metal thefts since the start of the year, many in recent weeks, and five have caused problems with electricity supplies in Mirfield.
This week a substation in Liversedge was broken into. Police said the person who broke n would have been lucky to escape without serious injury.
CE Electric UK‟s head of health and safety Geoff Earl said: “We cannot stress enough how dangerous it is to tamper with electrical equipment on the network. These incidents are a real threat to public safety.
“We are pleading with these thieves to think about the consequences of their actions and how much they are risking for such a small return, especially in the light of the recent fatality in Leeds. You really cannot put a price on your own life.”
Northern Gas also had a blunt message for thieves. Director of Health Safety and Environment Dave Hutchison said: “This footage sends a clear message to metal thieves targeting electrical and gas equipment – don‟t do it. It is extremely dangerous and threatens lives all for the sake of a few pounds.”