Four hurt as Blandford fireworks go off accidentally

Four people were injured when fireworks at an organised public display were accidentally set off into a crowd.

Police were called to the incident at the Yuletide Festival in Market Square, Blandford Forum, Dorset, on Wednesday.

A box of fireworks discharged "incorrectly", according to police. Most hit a nearby wall but up to six went directly into the crowd.

The casualties suffered minor burns and eye injuries and were treated at the scene. No-one was seriously hurt.

Amateur mobile phone footage posted on Facebook by spectator Suzanne Patrick showed fireworks exploding behind a row of shops, before several shoot over the buildings and down towards the crowd.

As the first of them explodes in mid-air, a woman is heard saying: "That's dangerous actually, I'm a bit scared."

'Shaken up'

When two more come over, people begin to flee in panic.

Ms Patrick wrote on her Facebook page that her children had been among those hit by debris from the fireworks, as had the son and daughter of a friend.

She wrote: "Was so scared am still shaken up from it."

The Blandford Forum People community website said: "Yuletide festival nearly ended in disaster when the fireworks display went wrong, launching rockets into the crowd of onlookers."

Its report said rockets began bouncing off the market stalls and exploding just above the heads of those in the crowd.

The display was halted and the fireworks board moved further back before it continued safely, the website said.

Dorset Police said it was satisfied there was no "malicious or criminal intent" and will not be investigating.

They passed the matter to Trading Standards and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Organisers, the Blandford Yuletide Festival Group, said they were "very concerned about the firework display malfunction" and were "cooperating fully with the police and HSE investigation into the cause".

"It would be inappropriate to offer any further comment until this investigation is complete," they added.

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