The European Parliament staff had to be evacuated Monday September 19th when a power cut paralysed parts of the Belgian capital Brussels.

Several areas of the city were left without power after a fire in an electrical station, network operator Elia said.

Buildings housing the Council of the European Union, the European Commission and the parliament were among those hit by the blackout, officials contacted by AFP said.

Parliament spokesman Jaume Duch said staff had been evacuated for safety reasons.

“At about 2:00 pm (1200 GMT) a fire in an Elia transformer caused a power cut in the European quarter,” fellow network operator Sibelga said on its website.

Fire crews and engineers attended the scene but had difficulty accessing the station through the smoke, Elia said.

Other transformers were shut down as a precaution, spreading the blackout to other parts of the city.

The fault was close to being resolved by 5:00 pm (1500 GMT), Elia said.

Witnesses said traffic lights in the European quarter were affected by the power cut but the metro was running as normal.