MORE than 270 homes were left without power for more than seven hours after an underground electrical fire in Horwich.

Firefighters were called to Brownlow Road at about 3pm on Wednesday when a manhole cover was blown off by a electrical fire underground.

Workmen from Electricity North West worked through the night to carry out repairs on the high voltage fuse box.

Homes on both sides of Brownlow road, from the junction of Lee Lane, were left without power until 10.30pm.

June Fletcher, aged 71, of Brownlow Road, said: “I had to light candles and get all the blankets out because I couldn’t use my heating. I just heard the fire engines arriving and there was some smoke coming from the corner. It makes you realise how dependent we are on electricity.”

Kate Kelly, aged 48, of Brownlow Road, added: “It’s been a real inconvenience. Although I’m lucky, I have a gas fire so I have been able to heat my house.”

Watch manager Ian Read, of Bolton Central fire station, said: “We had to put a cordon in place while the cables were still catching fire from the high voltage passing through the box — which had blown the lid off the manhole.

"We used dry powder to extinguish the flames. Once workmen from Electricity North West arrived, we handed over to them.”

The Saddle pub was evacuated and closed for the evening.