Stoke & Staffordshire

Fireworks ignited by blaze in Stafford

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Media captionFootage of the fireworks going off as the blaze took hold

Four people have been hurt and one person is missing as dozens of firefighters tackle a blaze at a fireworks retailer in Staffordshire.

The fire service said people reporting the blaze said they could see and hear fireworks exploding.

Emergency crews were alerted to the fire in Tilcon Avenue, Stafford, at about 17:00 GMT, a spokesman said.

Staffordshire Police said the site will be searched on Friday once the fire, which is now under control, is out.

Supt Jane Hewett said: "At this stage police and fire are working to establish the cause of the explosion. Sadly we currently believe one person remains unaccounted for and police are working to support their family.

"We are currently arranging for a search of the scene tomorrow morning once the fire has been extinguished and the scene made safe."

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Media captionTim Hyde from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue: ''It's too unsafe to enter the premises''

'Seriously wrong'

It is not clear how the fire at SP Fireworks factory unit on Baswich Industrial Estate started but police said the building had sustained "significant" damage.

At its height, more than 50 firefighters were tackling the fire, West Midlands and Staffordshire Fire Service said.

West Midlands Ambulance Service initially said five people had been treated but later confirmed it was four - two men and two women.

One man, in his 40s, was treated for serious burns before being taken to University Hospital of North Staffordshire.

A second man, in his 60s, was treated for smoke inhalation and a back injury and was taken to the same hospital for further assessment and treatment.

'Ash falling on us'

Two women, one in her 40s, the other in her 50s, were treated for smoke inhalation and were discharged at the scene, the spokesman said.

A cordon is in place around the scene to protect the public, police said.

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Media caption"We're working very closely with their family", Chief Inspector Jane Hewitt tells Frankie McCamley

A number of roads in the area were closed and police said officers were evacuating a number of businesses and homes.

Baswich Lane, which leads to Tilcon Avenue remains closed.

A caller to BBC Radio Stoke said: "It was pretty obvious they were going to have to close the lane.

"There were ambulances going and police cars and fireworks kept going up so it was very obvious something was seriously wrong."

Christina Harrison told BBC News: "At first it was just a lot of smoke, all around, and the visibility was sort of minimal and then my friend said, 'oh, something's falling on my head', and then it turned out to be ash that was falling on us.

"As we got closer the smoke got worse and worse and you could just hear explosions and fireworks going off."

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