Firefighters and electrical engineers were called after metre-high flames shot of a crack in the ground.
The Crawley crew was called to the scorched pavement outside Ottobock, Spindle Way, Three Bridges, at around 3pm on Wednesday (April 22).
A spokesman for UK Power Networks said 24 units in the industrial area lost power following a fault in an underground electricity cable.
Angel Sandekov (pictured right), an electrician for Ottobock, was three metres from where fire dramatically shot out of the gap in the pavement.
He turned around to see the flames rise as high as three feet which he said sounded like a Roman candle firework.
Angel, who had just parked his van, said: “I thought first the car had gone up in flames.
“Seconds later I realised it was coming from the ground.
“It was loud, like a firework.”
Guy Mines, Ottobock manager, said the factory had been suffering from irregular power cuts for a year.
The fault left eight units without electricity.
A further 16 units were disconnected while engineers carried out repairs.
A UK Power Networks spokesman said: “At 3pm today (April 22) we were contacted by the fire service after a report was received about an incident in Spindle Way, Three Bridges.
“A fault on an underground electricity cable had interrupted supplies to eight customers in the area and our engineers were swiftly at the scene to assist the emergency services.”
Engineers worked to reconnect all power supplies as quickly and safely as possible. “In order to safely carry out repairs we had to isolate power supplies to another 16 customers just after 6pm last night, although repairs were completed and everyone had power again by 8.45pm.”