Sheffield & South Yorkshire

Sheffield steaming hole live feed gets global interest

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Media captionThe hole in the road in Sheffield

A hole has opened up in a road in Sheffield and a whole lot of steam can be seen rising up from it, prompting a surge in social media interest.

The gap appeared on Pond Street at about 09:00 BST and some 40,000 people have watched it via a live stream on BBC Sheffield's Facebook page.

The road, close to the city's bus station, has been closed and the hole cordoned off.

A heating system in the city had developed a leak, said contractors.

People have been watching the hole via the live stream from as far away as Auckland, New Zealand and Australia.

On BBC Radio Sheffield's Facebook page, Graham Bartley said the live video stream "had gone the hole hog" while David Blythen said "something similar happened last year or maybe the year before" on Pond Street.

Brian Long jokingly tweeted: "Have none of you seen War of the Worlds? Run for your lives."

Meanwhile, a passing cyclist, who gave her name as Elspeth, said she had seen "steam in the air" at the same spot two days ago.

Workmen on the site said the hole would be excavated, leaving one side of the road open while work was carried out.

Sheffield city centre and the surrounding areas are supplied with low-carbon energy generated in a central location, converted to hot water and pumped through a district network of underground pipes and delivered to a heat exchanger in buildings of all sizes and types.

The energy is recovered from burning the city's rubbish that cannot be recycled .

Steam is generated from the incineration process and passed through a turbine to generate electricity for the National Grid and/or converted to hot water for the network.

The Sheffield district energy network's leak meant a steam plume was visible, said contractors Veolia, who confirmed it was "making this safe".

Image caption The hole has been cordoned off by workmen in the area

A large hole, estimated to be about 15 ft (4.6m) deep, opened up in Hutcliffe Wood Road, Millhouses, in Sheffield on 24 April.

This was caused by an old lead mine.

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