London explosion: Ten injured at Jewish celebration after bonfire erupts into fireball

Multiple people treated for burns after flames engulf crowd at Lag BaOmer event

Tom Barnes
Thursday 03 May 2018 19:14 BST
Explosion at Jewish festival in London caught on camera

Ten people were injured after a bonfire lit as part of celebrations for a Jewish holiday in north London exploded into a fireball.

Paramedics were called to a Lag BaOmer event in Stamford Hill on Wednesday evening, treating several people for minor burns after the blast on a residential street.

Video of the incident circulated online shows a large group of people crowded around waiting for the fire to be lit.

The bonfire, which was reportedly soaked in oil, erupts violently as a torch is used to ignite it, engulfing those standing closest in flames.

Hatzola, a Jewish volunteer ambulance service that responds to emergency calls in north and east London, said it sent a "mega response team" to the explosion.

London Ambulance Service said it had provided assistance to Hatzola in dealing with the incident, treating multiple patients.

"We have a long-standing, mutually respectful working relationship, and together we help to save lives," it added on Twitter.

Jewish news outlet Yeshiva World reported claims by eyewitnesses that several smartphones had been thrown onto the bonfire after a Rebbe, a religious teacher, had given a speech on the dangers of the technology.

"It appears that the explosion was caused by fuel and not the smartphone, although there definitely were multiple smartphones placed inside the pile to be burned," it said.

London Fire Brigade said firefighters had spent roughly 15 minutes at the scene, but the cause of the explosion was not being investigated.

Met Police said the fireball had left 10 people hurt, although no one had been seriously injured. It added officers had not received reports of any criminal offences being committed.

Lag BaOmer is a minor Jewish festival held on the 33rd day of the Omer, a 49-day period between Passover and Shavuot.

It is traditionally marked by lighting bonfires and is the only day of the Omer on which observant Jews are permitted to get married or have their hair cut.

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