Two killed in Ecclerigg after fireworks shed blaze

The two casualties are thought be technicians who had been booked to stage an evening display

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The Independent Online

The bodies of a man and a woman have been found after an explosion in a shed containing fireworks in Ecclerigg.

It is thought the two casualties may be firework technicians who had been booked to stage an evening display at a luxury property in Ecclerigg, Cumbria, off the shore of Lake Windermere.

They had joined around 70 guests who had gathered to mark the wedding of local insurance boss John Simpson and his partner, Nicole Rothwell, who were said to have married earlier in the week.

Witnesses and neighbours spoke of an "almighty bang" at about 3.15pm yesterday followed by a series of "smaller bangs and pops", with one comparing the initial sound to that of a wartime bombing.

A shed containing the fireworks erupted into flames and spread to another outbuilding and a parked car nearby.

Witnesses at the adjacent Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre said the noise of fireworks continued for about 20 minutes before firefighters arrived on the scene and doused the blaze.

The Tree Top Trek adventure centre at Brockhole was evacuated as a precaution with many families present, while staff ensured the site did not pose a fire hazard.

A joint inquiry into the cause of the fire has been launched by the police and the fire service.

Parts of the property - with the marquee still in place - were cordoned off today as forensics investigators attended the scene.

The cottage and other surrounding residences within the same grounds have private jetties at Lake Windermere.

The newlyweds were unavailable for comment.

It is understood that the two victims may not be identified for several days because of the severity of their burns.

Sources said that the remaining guests and workers at the reception were all accounted for and uninjured.

A spokesman for Cumbria Constabulary said: "Police are continuing in their investigation into a fire at Ecclerigg where two people died.

"Police were called at 3.35pm yesterday after a shed containing fireworks was on fire. A vehicle near to the shed was also damaged by the blaze.

"Two bodies, believed to be a male and a female, were found.

"Police and the fire service are investigating the circumstances that led to the fire."

Additional reporting by Press Association