FOUR people got out of a burning a car in South Harrow after it crashed into an electricity substation, leaving thousands of homes without power.
The vehicle was being driven along Somervell Road at 8.15am on Saturday. It left the road and collided with the hazardous site, bursting into flames. The substation was badly damaged by the fierce blaze.
The four people in the car escaped moments before it burst into flames. Ambulance crews attended and treated one patient, who was taken to Northwick Park Hospital with a hand injury. Two other people were treated at the scene for minor injuries.
Firefighters from Southall, Harrow and Wembley attended.
Photographer Stuart Capel heard the crash from his home in Somervell Road.
He said: "There was a loud crash and bang outside. From my upstairs window I could see flames coming from the substation on the corner of Somervell Road and Carlyon Avenue, so I called the fire brigade.
"Once outside, I could see a red Honda Accord saloon had collided with a lamppost and crashed into the substation. Both subsequently caught fire.
"The car was completely gutted and the substation was burned to the ground, with only the generator left standing.
"The fire burned for over an hour before emergency services were able to approach and put the remaining small fire out."
Engineers repaired the damage and installed portable generators, but some households were without power until the evening and 165 homes did not have power reconnected until 11.30am the following day. Red Cross volunteers went door to door distributing blankets, torches and hot drinks and checking on vulnerable residents, some of whom were taken to Harrow Borough FC's Earlsmead ground for shelter.
"Considering the damage, I think they did well to have the electricity back on for most of us within 12 hours," Mr Capel added.
A spokeswoman for UK Power Networks, which owns the UK electricity infrastructure, said: "Power supplies to several thousand customers were interrupted and our engineers restored power to the majority of customers on Saturday, in stages, from 8.56am.
Power was restored to the final 165 customers at 11.30am on Sunday. "Some customers experienced brief interruptions lasting a few minutes to their power supplies while work progressed to restore supplies during the weekend."
Harrow police are investigating the crash but have made no arrests.