Fire cuts off TV for thousands

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The Independent Online

Hundreds of thousands of homes were left without television reception yesterday after a fire broke out at a transmitter.

The blaze at the Beckley transmitter near Oxford was reported at 2.30pm, cutting the signal for about 400,000 homes in Oxfordshire, Wiltshire, Buckinghamshire and Northamptonshire.

Firefighters feared the 170m-high structure could collapse and warned nearby residents to stay in their homes while they assessed the damage.

Engineers are on site but said the signal for all analogue and digital television would not be restored until tomorrow at the earliest. Cable and satellite services and analogue Five have not been affected.

Bruce Randall of Arqiva, which operates the transmitter site, said: "The fire is out and we will attempt to assess the damage this evening.

"Arqiva is doing all it can to resolve the situation as quickly as possible and we ask viewers to bear with us."