A 62-year-old man was critically injured this morning in a powerful explosion at a fireworks factory at Tas-Silg, near Marsaxlokk. Another man suffered serious leg injuries and four men suffered less serious injuries.
The blast took place at about 10 a.m. and was heard as far away as San Gwann. Hospital sources said the critically injured man was suffering severe burns to much of his body and was in intensive care.
The factory manufactures fireworks for the feast of St Catherine in Zejtun. The recently-built compound consists of a cluster of small rooms with open spaces where the fireworks can be manufactured.
Policemen, medical teams and Civil Protection Department rescuers rushed to the scene. Onlookers were kept at a safe distance amid initial fears that a fire at the site of the explosion could spread to a store containing more fireworks. The fire, however, was quickly brought under control. Members of the Civil Protection Department and the Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit of the AFM, however, had a delicate job to remove a tank containing chemicals.
According to reader Chris Grillo, the first to arrive on the scene was a priest from Tas-Silg Church.
Mr Grillo said he had been looking at two tractors tilling the field after a walk when the blast almost knocked him off his feet.
Members of the Administrative Law Enforcement Unit, who had been in the area on duties related to hunting, also went quickly on site. Also on site within minutes was a fire engine from the nearby Delimara power station.
The explosion was the third in recent months in fireworks factories.
Two men were killed in a fireworks factory explosion in Qormi in February and there were no injuries when the Gharghur fireworks factory blew up.
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