A major explosion at a wood flour processing plant in Bosley, East Cheshire, led to a deliberate power cut in the surrounding hazardous area – a region including some 165 homes.

The incident occurred just after 9am on July 17th, following a report to the fire service of an explosion at the plant, which produces wood flour, a finely ground ingredient used in the manufacture of some composites.

Multiple explosions were reported, with 15 fire crews attending the scene, where a four-storey building had collapsed.

With four people unaccounted for, fire crews decided to send in search and rescue teams – but to make the area safe and prevent further explosions, Electricity Northwest were asked to cut the mains supply, affecting 165 nearby homes.

Nearby residents had already been told to stay indoors with their doors and windows closed, in light of the potentially hazardous smoke emanating from the site.

The cause of the incident was not immediately reported, although finely ground substances are a common explosive risk.

But it highlights how hazardous areas can quickly spread – whether due to smoke, the risk of subsequent explosions, or by falling within the catchment area of mains utilities – such that members of the public in their own homes can be adversely affected by such incidents.