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Virtual Earth map of Festival Fireworks, Shortgate - Explosion 3 Dec 2006

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The drama began shortly before 2pm on Sunday on a remote industrial estate. Members of the family-run company fled after discovering a fire had broken out. At first, 10 fire engines and crews were dispatched, but more officers were called in as the scale of the blaze became apparent. The biggest explosion, which residents compared to a bomb going off, was at about 3pm. The explosions at the depot were so loud they were heard by people in the town of Uckfield, some 12 miles away. The blasts shook nearby houses and sent debris flying through the air. With fireworks still shooting from the blaze several hours later, the emergency services were forced to retreat from the scene, leaving the flames and explosions to wreck the depot and a nearby house. Two firefighters died in the operation to bring the fire under control.


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