Underground Barking explosions are ‘unrelated’

Richard Lund saw the fire caused by the explosion next to Barking Town Hall from his apartment in th

Richard Lund saw the fire caused by the explosion next to Barking Town Hall from his apartment in the town centre Picture: Richard Lund - Credit: Archant

Firefighters say today’s underground town centre “explosion” is unrelated to an explosion six days ago.

Clockhouse Avenue in Barking remains closed off after reports of an explosion at Broadway Theatre at

Clockhouse Avenue in Barking remains closed off after reports of an explosion at Broadway Theatre at 4.15am - Credit: Archant

The second “explosion” hit an electricity substation at Broadway Theatre this morning, damaging an underground dance studio and closing the town hall.

Firefighters were initially called to Barking Town Hall to reports of an explosion at 4.15am, before being diverted to the other end of Clockhouse Avenue in the town centre to reports of smoke near the theatre in Broadway.

Digital forensics worker Richard Lund, 29, saw the explosion unfold from his seventh-floor flat in Town Square.

“I heard the fire engines and I knew it was near the town hall,” he said.

“I went to the balcony and that’s when I realised what was happening – it smelled like burning electrics. The fire service was on the scene very quickly, which was great to see.”

Two fire engines and a command vehicle attended the incident, which cut off power to the town hall and Broadway Theatre as Clockhouse Avenue was closed off for investigation.

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A council spokesman said today’s explosion also interrupted the internet server at Barking Learning Centre in Town Square.

“The emergency services and UK Power Network are currently dealing with it,” he said. “This means there will be no public access to the town hall today.”

Box office clerk Anita Robinson, 39, said the theatre’s clubs and workshops will relocate to Abbey Leisure Centre in Bobby Moore Way, Barking, until Friday at the earliest.

Another explosion was caused by an electrical fire underneath a manhole cover in George Street on Wednesday.

Firefighters were called to the scene at 10.15am after witnesses say they heard a “huge bang” in George Street at 10.15am.

Natalie Savage, 46, said: “It made me jump – I didn’t know what it was. I saw two guys walking across George Street and as they went to get in the road there was a huge bang and they jumped. It just came out of the ground – the smoke came up out of the ground.”

George Street, Linton Road and one side of Cambridge Road were taped off as workmen carried out rewiring.