A WOMAN from Redditch has described her near-death experience after an electrical explosion blasted manhole covers into the air metres away from her.

Julie Whitehouse, from Church Hill, was driving on Monday morning (June 7) and reached the traffic lights at the bottom of Plymouth Road near the town centre bus station.

At around 9.20am, Mrs Whitehouse and her husband witnessed an "almighty blast" from the side of the road.

The 64-year-old from Church Hill told The Advertiser: "The manhole covers exploded into the air and there was fire billowing out of the manhole.

"I said a few choice words.

"The covers were flying in the air, I was surprised they didn't come down on us.

"It all just happened so fast. I was quite shook up. You don't realise how close it could have been.

"I thought I was a goner.

"It could have been fatal."

A spokesperson for Redditch Fire Station said: "We were called to a below ground explosion caused by electricity. "Several manhole covers and paving slabs were lifted, thankfully no one was hurt.

"Our thanks to our colleagues from Western Power, Gas, Police and Highways who assisted while the area was made safe."

An electrical substation had caught fire on Plymouth Road on the morning. A power outage affected more than 350 properties in the town centre.

Two engines from Redditch were sent out to the fire which was caused by an electrical fault at 9.30am.

A team from Western Power Distribution was called out to the incident. Road closures at Plymouth Road and Bromsgrove Road were also in place.