Fireworks factory blaze: Two found dead after police search building

Two other men were still in hospital after suffering injuries in the fire

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The Independent Online

Police have discovered the bodies of two men in the charred wreckage of a fireworks factory that went up in flames last night.

The remains were found almost 24 hours after an explosion saw the warehouse at Baswich Industrial Estate in Stafford engulfed in flames at around 5.15 pm yesterday, police said following a detailed search.

Meanwhile, one man in his 60s and another in his forties remained in University Hospital Staffordshire having suffered serious burns in the blaze which struck just a few hundred yards from 150 homes.

Last night, dramatic footage showed thick plumes of smoke and bursts of fireworks exploding from the factory - a scene described as “horrendous” by bystanders.

Specialist police teams and fire crews will continue their painstaking search operation in the unstable building off Tilcon Avenue tomorrow, police said.

A 53-year-old man who was arrested in connection with the incident has been released and is now being treated as a witness.

The victim’s families have been told and were being supported by specially trained officers.

Superintendent Ian Coxhead, of Staffordshire Police, said: “This is a tragic development in a rare and challenging incident, our sympathies go out to the families of those who have sadly lost their lives.

The SP Plastics industrial unit was used to store what police described as ”a significant volume of fireworks” but the council confirmed there have been “no safety issues”, and it had been licensed to sell fireworks for four years.

Staffordshire County Council also said: “Our trading standards team has registered the premises to sell fireworks for the last four years during the permitted weeks around the Bonfire and New Year periods.

"The team inspected the premises on October 16 this year and it met all safety requirements for the storage of fireworks."

Meanwhile, the police have said the estate will be cordoned off "for the foreseeable future" while its investigation and further searches continue.