Beds, Herts & Bucks

Seven injured in barbecue fireball blaze in Luton

The air ambulance helicopter at the scene of the fire
Image caption A woman with severe burns was airlifted to a hospital in Chelmsford

A woman in her 40s was severely injured and three children aged between six and 11 were hurt when a "fireball" engulfed a portable gas barbecue.

Fire and ambulance crews were called to a playing field in Stopsley Way, Luton, at about 1630 BST.

The badly burned woman was airlifted to the specialist burns unit at Broomfield Hospital in Chelmsford.

The children sustained 15% to 20% burns to their upper limbs and three other adults suffered minor burns.

The East of England Ambulance Service said the children were all taken to Luton and Dunstable Hospital and the three adults were taken to the Lister Hospital in Stevenage.

Bedfordshire Fire and Rescue Service said a group of about 20 people were thought to have been at the playing fields when the barbecue caught fire.

A brigade spokesman said crews from the nearby Stopsley Fire Station arrived at the scene before ambulance crews and administered first aid with the help of a locally-based paramedic.

The cause of the blaze was not yet clear but would be the subject of a fire service investigation, the spokesman added.

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