Festival Fireworks Blast

Festival Fireworks Blast

Factory owner found guilty of manslaughter over fatal firework blast

A firework factory owner has been convicted of the manslaughter of two firemen killed in an explosion at the site.

Martin Winter, 52, kept fireworks in metal containers not licensed for the storage of explosive materials despite knowing the potential dangers if they were set alight, a jury ruled.

He was held responsible for the deaths of fireman Geoff Wicker, 49, and support officer Brian Wembridge, 63, who were killed in the blast at Festival Fireworks UK's site at Marlie Farm in Shortgate, East Sussex, in December 2006.

As well as killing the two firemen, both long-serving members of East Sussex Fire and Rescue Service, the explosion injured 20 others, mostly members of the emergency services.

Mr Winter's company, which now trades under the name Alpha Fireworks, was also found guilty of two counts of breaching health and safety legislation.

Lewes Crown Court heard that the accidental ignition of some fireworks while staff prepared for a display that evening sparked a chain reaction across the site.
Source: Telegraph

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