The big bang

A FIREWORKS factory near Clevedon was razed to the ground after a massive explosion ripped through the building

A FIREWORKS factory near Clevedon was razed to the ground after a massive explosion ripped through the building.Firefighters were called to Firemagic at Kenn Court Business Park just after 9.30pm on Friday after reports a blaze had broken out.Three members of staff were working at the factory and called the emergency services when the blaze took hold.It is understood they tried to fight the fire themselves before calling crews to the scene.Firefighters from Clevedon, Nailsea, Yatton and Avonmouth rushed to the scene but were forced to wait for 45 minutes for the fireworks to finish exploding before tackling the inferno.Three members of Firemagic staff were treated for shock and smoke inhalation at the scene by fire crews before being taken to hospital.Crews used high pressure hose reels and specialist thermal imaging equipment to fight the blaze and the command support unit was brought in from Avonmouth to co-ordinate the incident. Hoses had to be laid along country lanes and nearby roads to get water to fight the blaze.The fire completely destroyed the two units used by Firemagic and badly damaged a neighbouring unit occupied by Bristol Classic and Sports Cars Limited.Eleven classic cars - including a Daimler, Jaguar V8 and an E-type Jaguar - were all destroyed in the blaze.In total 70 firefighters were on scene until 11am on Saturday to ensure the site was safe and damp down the charred remains.The large explosion was heard for miles around, with people reporting hearing a massive bang as far away as Nailsea and Portishead.Judy Williamson, who was at a friend's house only a few hundred metres from the blaze, watched the drama unfold.Miss Williamson said: "When we heard the bang, we thought it was a bomb going off or a plane crashing."We heard the noise of fireworks and realised it was the factory across the field and ran to the end of the garden where we saw the units on fire."The fireworks were continuous and the fire was very fierce."Resident Colin Rozee, who lives about 400 yards from the factory, was in the bath when he heard the explosion.Mr Rozee said: "At first I thought that my boiler had exploded."But then I saw the lights through the window and when I looked out could see there had been an explosion."It was a firework display like I had never seen before - it filled the sky."Sometimes they do tests at the warehouse and send round a note to residents letting them know. But it soon became very apparent that this was no test."Roads in the area were closed off by police as fire crews battled the blaze.A spokesman for Avon Fire Brigade said: "It was a very severe fire and we had crews there until the following day.""We also made regular inspections of the site during the weekend."We are not treating the blaze as suspicious and are putting its cause to accidental ignition."Firemagic is owned by Andrew Collins who launched the company in 1996 with a £1,000 grant from the Prince's Trust.He is now known for his fantastic pyrotechnic displays across the district and has organised a number of events to raise money for Clevedon Pier.Bosses at the firm said they have more than 100 firework events booked in over the next seven days and all will go ahead.A spokesman for Firemagic, which was due to celebrate its 10th year in business this year, said: "We will still be able to commit to every show booked and people can still look forward to their displays."The spokesman added they still had no idea how the blaze started and that an investigation into the cause had been launched.The spokesman added: "We still have no idea how it started and there are 101 questions which need to be answered."Hopefully the investigation will enlighten us to what happened."Safety is always paramount to us and the site has undergone a healthy and safety check and met all the necessary requirements."We take what happened very seriously and are helping the emergency services to find out what happened."The site has been completely secured following the fire and we have employed 24 hour security."Last year the company also suffered a major blow just days before bonfire night when raiders broke into the premises and stole fireworks worth £21,000.Pictured: James Johnson starts the job of clearing up the aftermath of the fire.


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