A TEENAGE boy escaped with his life after crashing into an electricity substation which burst into flames.
The young boy, aged just 15, walked free from the car after reversing into the live substation in Jennyfield last Friday night.
The impact sparked a series of explosions which ripped through the building, causing £50,000 worth of damage and cutting off power to around 200 homes.
Neighbour Lucy Wright, who heard the impact and watched, horrified, as the fire took hold, said: “He was very lucky to walk away from it. There was this huge fire and just masses and masses of billowing smoke.”
Mrs Wright and her young family had been watching TV at home when they heard a loud bang, which turned out to be the sound of the car crashing straight into the wall on Beningbrough Drive.
“The lights flickered - I thought at first it was a thunderstorm,” she said. “The next thing we heard was some really loud bangs, like explosions, and all the power went off.”
Her husband Nick, an off-duty firefighter, saw the flames and rushed to the scene, calling Harrogate Fire Station as he ran to help.
The teenager, though reported to be shocked and in “floods of tears” climbed free of the car without injury.
“We didn’t know what it was at first,” said Mrs Wright, 31, who watched from an upstairs window with her two youngest boys.
“I knew it was something to do with electricity because I could smell it. It was awful - my reaction was to close the windows and stay inside but it seemed everybody from the street came out to see what was going on.
“The fire engines were there within minutes. There was just a sea of blue lights.”
Fifteen firefighters in three engines rushed to the scene, cordoning off the area and holding back the crowds as they waited for the power company to switch off the substation.
Station manager Simon Render said the electricity could be seen “arcing” through the flames as the live wires burned.
“We went into defensive mode,” he said. “With it being live, we could not endanger our crews.”
Mr Render, said the teenager was “lucky” to walk away from the crash.
“Any collision could potentially have devastating consequences,” he said.
Around 200 homes in the Saltergate area were without power until midday on Saturday.
Police say a 15-year-old boy has been bailed in connection with the incident.