A FIRE that broke out in central Madrid in the early hours of December 26 was likely caused by a surge in power consumption, sources close to the investigation told news agency Europa Press. 

As well as causing smoke to flood the area around Plaza de Callao, electricity was also cut off to some 500 homes, and the musical The Lion King could not go ahead for its Monday performances. 

The blaze started in an underground service tunnel between Callao, Montera street and Plaza de España. It caused smoke and a strong smell of burning plastic to billow out from sewer grates, alarming passers by. 

Some 15 fire crews attended the scene, according to Spanish daily El Diario, as well as local police and ambulances. 

Several hours later the blaze was extinguished and technicians were able to access the tunnel, where high- and medium-tension cables belonging to several different energy firms had caught fire.

Sources said that the fire was accidental and that the high demand in the Gran Vía area – which is a popular destination for visitors from all over the country at Christmas – was to blame. 

The area is home to a series of theatres, hundreds of shops, cafés and restaurants, and there is also a temporary ice rink operating in Plaza de España over the holiday season.

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