SOUTHERN Electric Power Distribution has admitted responsibility for a fire that left 40 homes without power overnight.

The homes in Speckled Wood Road, Popley, had their electricity supply cut off at around 11pm last night after work to fix a fault on the local underground network caused the fire.

A team of engineers from Southern Electric Power Distribution were working to restore power to two properties in Speckled Wood Road yesterday evening after a fault had interrupted their electricity supply.

Whilst trying to restore electricity to the affected homes, a gas pipe controlled by Southern Gas Networks was damaged, causing the fire. As a result, electricity supplies to 40 homes were turned off as a precautionary measure and were turned back on again at 5am this morning.

A crew from Basingstoke fire station was called to the scene at 10.55pm to control the fire.

One property was evacuated and the gas supply to five other properties was temporarily isolated whilst the fire was contained, and a team carried out a repair on the gas pipe.

Gavin Steel, a spokesman for Southern Electric Power Distribution said: “A full investigation will be carried out so we can understand what happened and learn lessons from it.

“We would like to apologise to our customers and thank them for their patience during this time.”