Confusion reigned as Cambridge residents and students were shocked when Trinity Street was rocked by explosions.
The series of bangs, underneath Bradford and Bingley building society, were heard late in the afternoon on Sunday 7th October.
The blast was later attributed to an electrical fire in a large junction box underground at the corner of Rose Crescent and Trinity Street. Two fire crews in three engines were dispatched to the scene, and police teams also arrived to help seal off the area. Witnesses described seeing smoke and flames pouring out of the hole in the pavement, all after hearing a series of bangs when the box exploded.
A witness at the time of the explosions said, “It started at about half past five when I heard a small bang. Then there were lots more louder explosions.
“I saw flames and smoke coming out of there , so I got a man to call 999.”
The man, the owner of the Little Gift Shop on the Corner, told The Cambridge Student that troubles on Rose Crescent began much earlier when power supplies failed. “At 3pm our electrical supplies went off”, he continued. “I rang EDF to sort it out. Then the explosion happened.”
Speculation and rumours were rife as people tried to explain what had happened. The Verger at Great St. Mary’s, and caretaker to Michaelhouse chapel told TCS, ‘There is an electrical fire somewhere underground. It started about 5.20 when there were explosions.
“Firemen broke down the doors to Bradford and Bingley and went in with gas cylinders on their backs and everything.’
TCS contacted the fire service for their official account of the events. “A 999 call was received at 5.25pm, when callers described seeing flames from an area between the pavement and Bradford and Bingley building society”, a spokesman said.
“We dispatched two crews and an extra engine with a turntable ladder from Cambridge to the scene.
“Fire fighters broke into the building to check that it wasn’t spreading. We found the fire was caused by a 2’x2′ junction box with 415V passing through it.”EDF were called to switch off the energy, and we put out the fire.”
A Gonville and Caius college porter was keen to find out what was happening when he told a Police Community Support Officer, “That’s Gonville and Caius college property.”
Caians in the vicinity were mostly amused. ‘Clearly someone’s student loan hasn’t come through,’ said one student spectator.