THE fire at the Didcot B power station shocked residents in the town, who feared there could be a gas explosion.

This did not occur, but about 60 firefighters were required to bring the blaze at the gas-fired plant under control.

As a result of the fire, the plant, which normally powers about a million homes, can only produce electricity at half its normal capacity — and it is not yet known how long it will take to repair the damage or how much it will cost.

The blaze at Didcot B is not the only fire or fault to have occurred at the power station complex, and this has prompted energy analysts to suggest that problems with power supplies this winter are now more likely.

The fire happened just months after thousands of people gathered to watch three of the defunct and coal-fired Didcot A power station’s six cooling towers blown up.

Didcot A was closed last year because of a European directive about emissions, but some suggested at the time that the coal-fired plant had been closed prematurely.

Following the inferno at Didcot B, that debate can now be revisited.