Lakes fireworks blast: Two dead were technicians

Ecclerigg fireworks blaze Image copyright Anthony Middleton
Image caption Fireworks could be seen shooting into the sky, said eyewitnesses

Two people who died in a fireworks explosion in Cumbria were technicians preparing for a wedding party display, the fire brigade said.

The bodies of the man and woman were found in a shed where the stored fireworks went up in flames on Saturday.

A display was to be staged at a house in Ecclerigg near Windermere following a wedding earlier in the week.

Witnesses heard a loud bang at 15:15 BST, followed by smaller explosions.

The fire spread to a neighbouring shed and parked vehicle.

'Like the Blitz'

Inquiries into the cause of the explosion are under way.

The fire brigade said the man was a self-employed experienced fireworks technician and the woman was his assistant.

The formal identification of the bodies is expected to take several days.

About 70 people had gathered to celebrate the wedding of local insurance boss John Simpson and his partner Nicole Rothwell.

Enid Battersby, who lives opposite the cottage, said: "It was very frightening. It was an enormous explosion, which I had not heard anything like since the Blitz in Manchester.

"There was this one big sound followed by further smaller bangs and pops and a cloud of smoke then drifted over as all the police cars and fire engines arrived."

'Something disastrous'

Tourist Anthony Middleton, from Stockport, was at the nearby Brockhole Visitor Centre with his family.

He told BBC Cumbria that as well as flames and smoke, they saw fireworks shooting into the sky.

He said: "The ground was shaking. We looked up and saw exhibition fireworks illuminating the daytime sky.

"Explosions were going off all the time, we could see the fireworks coming out from behind the trees.

"We realised something disastrous was taking place. I could almost feel the heat of the fire."

Police said they were working with the fire service, the Health and Safety Executive and Trading Standards to investigate.

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