An explosion rocked an estate in Keighley in the early hours of yesterday.

Residents told of their fear after they were awoken at about 4.50am by a loud bang and a series of hissing noises.

A fire had broken out in some roadworks on Bracken Bank Grove, sparked by a gas leak just under the road surface.

Locals, who were without electric and gas as a result of the fire, told how the flames reached about 15 feet high and destroyed plastic fences surrounding the roadworks.

Stuart Smith, 65, of Bracken Bank Grove, said the explosion woke him up, and added: “A big bang woke me up and I went to have a look. There were lots of blue sparks flying everywhere. It was really scary.

“Something has gone wrong somewhere.”

Mark Pearson, of Bracken Bank Grove, said electricity workers had been working at the scene on Saturday. He said they were trying to sort out a problem that had been causing regular power cuts in the area for the past two years.

Mr Pearson, who claimed there had been at least 12 power cuts in the last two years, added: “We have had power cuts lasting anything from two hours up to 15 hours, but this is the worst one that has happened.”

A freelance photographer, Mr Pearson claimed one power cut cost him £600 because his computer switched off before he had saved some work.

He told how the power had gone off at about 11.30pm on Friday, before coming back on intermittently from 1.30am on Saturday and leaving the street “like a disco with the lights flickering”.

Mr Pearson, 39, said power was restored on Saturday afternoon, before going out because of the blaze.

A 53-year-old woman, who didn’t want to be named, said: “I heard a hissing noise and lots of popping, then it went up in flames. It was scary, and right outside my house.”

Colin Wilkinson, 59, said: “It was banging and cracking, like fireworks going off. We have had problems for two years with lights going on and off.”

Another man, aged 43, who didn’t want to be named, said: “It is lucky it happened at the time it did. If it had happened during the day there could have been children nearby or families with prams.”

Firefighters confirmed they were called to a blaze in some roadworks and then discovered a major gas leak.

A fire service spokesman “We responded to a fire in the open, lots of calls stating that there was sparking in the middle of the road from some alleged roadworks.

“On attendance, we requested the utilities - gas board and electrical people - as it turned out to be quite a substantial gas main leak and fire.

“The electricity to about 150 houses was believed to have been affected in that area.”

Crews from Keighley and Haworth fire stations were called to the scene at 4.50am and found the leak. Utility companies secured the gas and electricity supply to help make the area safe.