Ausgrid investigating power pole explosion on Darby Street during peak Saturday night dinner trade

SPARKS FLYING: A power pole in Darby Street on Saturday night explodes. Hundreds were forced to evacuate the immediate area during the peak of dinner service.
SPARKS FLYING: A power pole in Darby Street on Saturday night explodes. Hundreds were forced to evacuate the immediate area during the peak of dinner service.

A restaurant owner has described the “scary” moments after a power pole exploded on Darby Street in Cooks Hill on Saturday night and left live wires dangling into a footpath tree.

Patrons at the popular dining strip looked on as spectacular flashes of electricity burst from the top of a pole situated midway along the street shortly after 6.30pm. 

The incident forced hundreds out of close-by areas and was responded to by police and fire crews before Ausgrid shutoff power about 45 minutes later. 

Sharon Palmieri, who has run Delucas Pizza for 11 years, said she was forced to evacuate her entire restaurant in the middle of their busiest service of the week. 

“There was sparks flying everywhere,” she said. “It just started banging, like really loud and scary sparks. The power pole was on fire.”

About 45 people had to walk away from their meal and the business missed out on their second sitting, booked for later in the night. 

“It was going ka-boom for a really long time,” Ms Palmieri said. “It was really dangerous, I’m surprised no one was hurt.” 

Augrid released a statement on Sunday but did not detail the exact cause.

“Ausgrid’s emergency crews responded to an incident in Newcastle last night where powerlines had dropped into a tree,” the statement said.

“Crews made the area safe and restored power to most customers by midnight. The last customer was restored at 9am today. Ausgrid is investigating the cause of the incident.”

Did you see the incident? Send your photos and videos to max.mckinney@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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