Several Petersfield businesses sent their staff home for the day after this dramatic electrical fire cut off their power supply.

Electricity pylon on fire in Petersfield
Electricity pole on fire in Petersfield

Flames and smoke poured from the wooden pole which was left charred by the fire at Heath Farm. It is one of a string of poles that carry live cables across the site to homes and businesses that operate on the site.

Two fire appliances and electrical safety specialists attended. SSE staff were scrambled from their local base on Bedford Road.

Emergency services deal with the blazing pole

The businesses affected all operate at the farm and include the global headquarters of online recommendations service Feefo and the PR and marketing agency Azalea.

Around one hundred Feefo staff have been sent to work from home while some company operations have transferred to their smaller London office. Other businesses on the site have also closed for the day and have invoked their contingency plans.

A total of six businesses and homes have been affected, according to SSE Networks which operates the power infrastructure in Petersfield.

The first reports of the fire came from Hampshire Fire Service and local workers at 9.15am. SSE staff were on site within fifteen minutes to isolate the pole.

SSE says it is not uncommon for fires to occur on electricity poles. Sometimes they can be caused by birds hitting the wires or by lightning.

Engineers from SSE Networks inspect the charred structure

Petersfield Town and EHDC councillor Jamie Matthews, a technical infrastructure specialist, suggested on social media that ice causing a short circuit could be to blame.

SSE says they won’t know until their detailed inspection which must wait until engineers can take the pole down but there there is no evidence of any lightning in the Petersfield area at the time.

SSE apologies for any inconvenience to customers and says its teams are working to restore the power as quickly as possible. They managed to restore power before their target time of 4pm.

Big dig

Today’s fire comes just weeks before a major electricity infrastructure upgrade starts in the Petersfield area.

The project will place new high voltage cables under several streets in the town and remove overhead cables on a route from Petersfield to Fernhurst.

SSE Networks is running two public consultation events where local people can look at the plans and raise concerns.

Event in Milland on 19 February

Event in Liss on 24 February

Parts of Rake also off

A second power cut was reported at 9.07am this morning affecting premises in Rake. SSE confirms the two incidents are not connected.

How to report a power cut

There’s a dedicated shortcode you can dial if you suffer a power cut or witness damage to any electrical distribution infrastructure like this fire.

The number is 1 0 5 and it works from mobiles and landlines alike.