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'Absolutely terrifying' - collapsed power cable burns through back garden

PUBLISHED: 13:04 26 July 2019 | UPDATED: 09:15 27 July 2019

A power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil Perry

A power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil Perry

Neil Perry

A man has described the moment a power cable collapsed, burning a swathe of lawn in his back garden as "absolutely terrifying".

The cable goes over the back of Roger and Beccy Fitches' home leading into the village of Ridlington, near Happisburgh in north Norfolk. On Wednesday afternoon the cable broke after making contact with trees on his property, burning a thick line in the grass wherever it touched the ground, and killing a water hen which was unlucky enough to get in the way.

Mr Fitches, 70, said: "I don't scare easily but when I looked down at the burned-out path and I thought it was absolutely terrifying.

"We got a massive amount of burn.

"It could have killed someone very easily."

The wild hen which died after collapsed power cable burned a swathe through the Fitches' back garden in Ridlington, north Norfolk. Picture: Supplied by the FitchesThe wild hen which died after collapsed power cable burned a swathe through the Fitches' back garden in Ridlington, north Norfolk. Picture: Supplied by the Fitches

He said the incident meant their power was out until 8.50pm that day, when the line had been replaced.

Mr Fitches said it was the responsibility of UK Power Networks to cut the trees back so there was no danger of them making contact with the power line.

But he said although they knew about the trees' proximity to the line, nothing had been done for years.

Mr Fitches said: "The electricity company have called to arrange to come and cut the trees three times in the past six years.

A power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil PerryA power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil Perry

"Each time we've given them the permission but no-one has actually turned up to do it.

"About six months ago we rang them up because you could actually see the line sparking a bit when it was raining and it passed through the trees, but no-one took any notice.

"They should keep all vegetation clear of the line whenever it needs doing, because if they don't, then, eventually, bang!"

Mrs Fitches, 64, said: "You see something and think 'oh my God'. Then later it actually sinks in and you think 'that could have been me'.

A power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil PerryA power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil Perry

"It's not our responsibility for their lines that go across.

"We can't cut the trees because the lines have to be switched off to do it. They must have a duty of care for the people on the properties where their lines cross."

A UK Power Networks spokesman said: "Safety is paramount at UK Power Networks and we are investing £12 million across the East of England in tree trimming in 2019/20 to keep tree branches away from power lines and help prevent power cuts.

"We apologise that for operational reasons we were unable to undertake work at this property sooner. We will now ensure the remaining tree trimming work required on this line is done as quickly and safely as possible."

The collapsed power cable burned a swathe through the Fitches' back garden in Ridlington, north Norfolk. Picture: Supplied by the FitchesThe collapsed power cable burned a swathe through the Fitches' back garden in Ridlington, north Norfolk. Picture: Supplied by the Fitches

A power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil PerryA power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil Perry

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A power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil PerryA power cable collaped in Roger and Beccy Fitches' garden in the village of Ridlington. Picture: Neil Perry

The collapsed power cable burned a swathe through the Fitches' back garden in Ridlington, north Norfolk. Picture: Supplied by the FitchesThe collapsed power cable burned a swathe through the Fitches' back garden in Ridlington, north Norfolk. Picture: Supplied by the Fitches

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