A grand total of 122 properties were in the dark until 11pm on the evening of Monday last week, after Reading town centre experienced a power interruption earlier in the day.
The electricity originally went off at around 1:45 pm, resulting in the evacuation of hundreds of Reading workers from their offices. CRL have an office in the town located in Davidson House in Forbury Square.
When SSE engineers investigated, they found that the overhead network experienced substantial damage after a substation in the basement of the Abbey Street building encountered a problem. The damage is so extensive that power could not be restored for several hours on Monday.
Six fire crews arrived in response to a report that a loud bang had been heard in the building, followed by a lot of smoke.
Although workers were not evacuated from the Blade building, which stands nearby, they were left without power, and many opted to leave.
One woman said that around 500 people were evacuated from her building. People heard a loud banging noise, followed by smoke. She added that after waiting at the emergency evacuation point, she and her co-workers went to Forbury Gardens. After that, many people went home early because there was no electricity to work by.
An employee who works in the Blade building said that a lot of people exited the property, but could not use the lifts, so were forced to walk down several flights of stairs. He said going down the stairwells was like walking in a greenhouse and called the experience “horrible.”
Approximately 500 people were evacuated to Forbury Gardens, where they waited while emergency services did their work. In addition to electricity board SSE, teams from Caversham Road, Dee Road, Mortimer, Wokingham, and Whitley Wood attended.