One person is missing and five have been injured in a large blaze at a fireworks factory in Stafford, according to police.
Concerned residents raised the alarm after they heard a “loud bang” and saw smoke rising from the factory at 5.15pm.
The area around the scene is currently cordoned off as at least 25 fire fighters from Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service tackle the fire.
Video footage and photographs taken earlier at the scene show thick, black plumes of smoke rising around the SP Fireworks on Tilcon Avenue as fireworks continually explode.
Group manager Tim Hyde of Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service told ITV News last night that his team were trying to access and search an area of the premises to try to find the missing person.
He said: "There is a small area where if somebody is there and they have just fallen over and been knocked out, they would be able to survive. We are making access into that right now and we are going to search the area to confirm they are not in there.
"If they are there, we will rescue them and our ambulance colleagues will treat them immediately."
Asked if things would look good for the missing person if they were trapped in that location, he said: "At this stage, no I'm afraid it doesn't."
Two victims were hospitalised at University Hospital North Staffordshire, one with burns and the other was being treated for the effects of breathing in smoke. Two further victims were discharged at the scene, and one other had minor injuries, according to a spokesman for West Midlands Ambulance Service
Superintendent Jane Hewett, of Staffordshire Police, said the police and fire crews are attempting to establish the cause of the fire, and arrangements are being made to search the scene tomorrow morning when the fire is extinguished and the scene made safe.
"Sadly, we currently believe one person remains unaccounted for and police are working to support their family," she said.
"The cause of the explosion remains unclear at this point. Police are working to locate everyone who had been in the premises this afternoon and urge anyone with any information about those visiting SP Fireworks today to call Staffordshire Police on 101."
Four ambulances were attending the scene, as well as the Hazardous Area Response Team, four emergency doctors, five paramedic officers, two rapid response vehicles, while eight fire trucks used specialist equipment to tackle the blaze.
“Large fire in industrial unit well alight. Trains running under caution near by. Stay indoors and keep windows shut,” a spokesman for the Staffordshire Fire and Rescue Service said.
Onlooker Mike Hillman said he was watching from Tixall Road, adding “massive fire, loads of smoke this way, hope everyone is OK”.
He tweeted: “Hoping everyone is OK over there, looks like it has spread down the whole row of units on that side of the estate.”
Additional reporting by Press AssociationReuse content