You might not just be saving the planet by unplugging your TV equipment at night – you could be saving your life as well!

In a bizarre but chilling incident last night all the set-top digital TV boxes in one street in Washington, Tyne and Wear, burst into flames after a power surge.

The massive power surge blew up a whole street’s worth of TV digiboxes. As they burst into flames firefighters rushed from house to house yelling at residents to turn off their electrical equipment. Panic ensued.

One horrified resident described the road as being "lit up like Blackpool Pier" – a once-popular holiday destination for people who live that far north.

According to reports, home-owners fled into the street when their set-top TV boxes began to spark and smoke after a power surge.

Mum-of-two Sharon Stubbs, 37, described how she was out helping her neighbour whose sitting room had caught fire when a terrifying blaze started in her own house.

Another neighbour scarred his hand on the blazing hot digital box cables.

A spokesman for Tyne and Wear fire service confirmed that: “It is possible that if the boxes were plugged into the mains electricity and there was a surge something like this could happen."

So should we now unplug all our set-top boxes at night? What about recording late movies or our favourite telly programs when away on holiday? Should we expect to come home to a pile of ashes?

Electricity company, NEDL, sorted the problem out by 11pm and reassured residents that they should claim on their insurance.

Sharon claims her lounge flooring will need replacing and one neighbour’s home will need replastering and redecorating.

And who says the TV licence doesn’t sometimes work out as value for money. Every cloud of smoke has a silver lining…

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