ABOUT 1300 households in Calare were left without power on Tuesday night when a high voltage electrical substation caught fire close to two houses in Nicole Drive at about 8:15pm.
Adam Reynolds and partner Alicia Hanrahan were watching TV with their children at home across the road when they heard a loud bang and their house plunged into darkness.
Mr Reynolds said the explosion sounded like a clap of thunder.
“I actually thought it was just our house because it rattled the windows,” Mr Reynolds said.
“Then I came out and was walking up the street and could smell the smoke and see the big green box with smoke bellowing out of it.”
Ms Hanrahan called Fire and Rescue NSW and Essential Energy and the couple were impressed with the quick response.
The family and hundred of other houses were left without power and heating for most of the night.
Fire and Rescue NSW Orange station officer Glenn Kimpton said when crews arrived there was smoke bellowing from a 11,000 volt high voltage kiosk substation.
Residents at the houses on either side of the substation were told to stay inside to avoid highly toxic hydrogen cyanide smoke and electrocution.
“We put a restricted access zone in while we waited for Essential Energy to arrive and gain entry,” he said. “They found they had a fire in the high voltage side and we used two CO 2 extinguishes to extinguish the fire.”
Essential Energy regional manager Phillip Green apologised for the interruption “on a particularly cold night.