A whoosh came out and the drain started to crack and then the flames came out of it - was how one witness described seeing a manhole fire erupt near St Helier Hospital.

The fire broke out under the manhole cover leading to road closures near St Helier Hospital.

The fire was first reported at around 11.30 today (Monday November 24) by the junction of Wrythe Lane and Robertsbridge Road in St Helier with crews from the London Fire Brigade in attendance.

Roads remain closed and bus routes diverted. Police advised drivers to avoid the area to ease traffic congestion.

Andrew Fulker, 44, of Robertsbridge Road, said: “I was on the S1 bus in Robertsbridge Road. 

“I saw smoke coming out, at first it was just a lit bit but it was building up pretty rapidly.

“Then a whoosh came out and the drain started to crack and then the flames came out of it.

“I was sitting on the bus, waiting to come out on to the road, we were quite concerned that it would explode and hit the bus.

“I moved over to somewhere safer and called the fire brigade.

“The bus then pulled out but I kept looking back and saw the fire was getting worse.”

UK Power Networks spokesperson said: "At 11.43am UK Power Networks was alerted about an incident involving some of our equipment in the Robertsbridge Road area, which resulted in smoke appearing, and has unfortunately interrupted power to some local customers.

"Our engineers were on site quickly to help make the area safe and carry out work to reconnect power supplies.

"The cause of the incident is being investigated.”  

Did you see the manhole fire? Call 020 8722 6359 or email chris.caulfield@london.newsquest.co.uk