SCORES of properties in Johnstone were left without electricity as demolition work at a town centre building went spectacularly wrong.

A fire broke out at the site in Macdowall Street at around 3.50pm on Monday after a bungling worker had sliced through a power cable.

Two appliances from the Scottish Fire and Rescue Service (SFRS) arrived at the scene and managed to extinguish the flames before anyone was injured.

The building that was being demolished is understood to be a disused laundrette connected to the former Pit Stop repair shop.

A team of engineers from SP Energy Networks were sent to the town centre site to repair the damaged power cable.

Around 45 homes in the area were left without power for almost four-and-a-half hours.

Experts from gas distribution company SGN were also called out to deal with a damaged gas main.

Police were at the scene to help control traffic during the fire but officers were able to leave after Renfrewshire Council put road closures in place.

A spokesperson for SP Energy Networks told The Gazette: “Around 45 properties in the Johnstone area were without power for almost four-and-a-half hours on January 10 following third party damage to an electricity power cable at a demolition site.

“Our engineers attended immediately and carried out full repairs to restore power supplies as safely and quickly as possible.

“SGN also attended the site due to damage to a gas main.

“Following a customer request, SP Energy Networks carried out external disconnection works at this location towards the end of last year.

“Due to the condition of the building, we were unable to carry out any inspections or testing internally.

“As is standard, the disconnection notice given to the customer advised that ‘live’ apparatus, including other service providers equipment, may still exist within the site boundary, and that they ‘must take further precautions to prevent injury or damage to person or property’.”   

A Scottish Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were alerted at 3.48pm on Monday, January 10, to reports of a fire in the open on Macdowall Street, Johnstone.

“Operations Control mobilised two appliances to the scene to extinguish the fire and there were no reported casualties.”