Deadly blast at Italy fireworks factory

Six people were killed at a factory southeast of Rome, in Arpino.

    The owners of the factory are believed to be among those who died in the explosion

    Six people were killed in an explosion at a fireworks factory southeast of Rome, in Arpino, police said.

    Witnesses told the state television, RAI, on Monday that they heard at least three thundering blasts.

    Flames from the explosion spread to trees and shrubs surrounding the rural area, about 115km from Rome. Smoke engulfed the hilly region after water was airdropped to extinguish the flames.

    Emergency teams searched for survivors to determine if there were any other victims. The owners of the factory are believed to be among the dead. 

    Stefania Marazzo, a police spokeswoman from the town of Frosinone said the cause of the explosion was under investigation. She confirmed that a similar blast in the area in 1994 had killed six people.

    But Marazzo could not confirm a report on RAI that the 1994 blast occurred at a factory affiliated with the same family that owned the factory that exploded Monday.

    This is the latest in a number of similar accidents at Italian fireworks factories over the years.

    Fireworks displays are very popular during religious and cultural celebrations, which are a fixture of Italian towns, particularly in the south.

    In 2004, a factory near Naples blew up, killing five people.

    Another explosion took place near Naples in 2002 killing at least three people, while in 1996, a fireworks factory blast killed three people in Bari.

    Some opposition lawmakers referred the latest blasts was another case of unsafe workplaces in Italy.

    They have demanded greater safety measures and sanctions for violations.

    SOURCE: Agencies


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