Gharb firework factory explosion, 4 dead, 2 critically injured

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Gharb firework factory blows up explosions felt across GozoUpdate 8 – Video added  – At 6.10pm on Sunday evening, tremors were felt across the island when devastating explosions ripped through a fireworks factory near Gharb. Three explosions were clearly heard, and a large plume of smoke could be seen over the area.

Four people are now known to have been tragically killed in the explosion and two others are in a critical condition at Mater Dei Hospital.

The four people who perished in this tragic event, were the factory owner, Nenu Farrugia,  his son Noel and Noel’s wife Antoinette (who was said to be pregnant), all from Fontana, and a 27-year-old man from Zebbug, Jean Pierre Azzopardi. 

The two men who are in critical condition at Mater Dei Hospital have been identified as another of Nenu Farrugia’s sons, Ray, and Ninu’s son-in-law Paul.

The factory had been busy preparing the fireworks for the feast of Our Lady of Victories, which is to be celebrated in Xaghra on Wednesday. The fireworks are understood to have been brought over from Malta early on Sunday morning.Gharb firework factory scene

Photographs are by Lorne Cremona –

The following video showing last nights tragic scene at Gharb has been posted on YouTube. We must warn our readers that they may find some of the content extremely upsetting.

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    19 Responses

    1. Istvan Magyar says:

      How many death does need the Maltese tradition for stopping fireworks????

    2. RR says:

      Sadly to say there have been a number of deaths this year and thorughout the past years.I think that the authorities should take a stance and stop all this as too many lives are in danger.

    3. Joseph Caruana says:

      A truly sad day for Gozo.

      My deepest heartfelt condolences to the victims families and friends.

      Perhaps the Government or the Minister for Gozo will now take some concrete action to prevent any further tragedies ocurring.

    4. Mario Portelli says:

      My sincerest condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones in this terrible tragedy.

      Please let us put a stop to this ongoing senseless carnage.

    5. RR says:

      My deepest condolences to all those who have lost their loved ones.

    6. alex camilleri says:

      sorry for the loss
      we all like feast but we do not like tragedy’s this has to stop we cannot loose any more people .

    7. Georgette Spiteri says:

      I heard the news early this morning,my brother called me from Gozo to tell me before I hear of the news. The owner of the fireworks factory is my uncle and one of the dead is my cousin, so I m deeply sad by this news, I can only imagine what the rest of my family is going through. I do offer my condolences to my family and may God lookout for them.

    8. Anabelle Azzopardi says:

      They are my family

    9. KP says:

      X’inhu l-izjed importanti: il-?ajja ta’ tant nies jew id-delizzju tal-log?ob tan-nar?
      X’inhu l-izjed importanti: il-?ajja ta’ tant nies jew il-voti li jistg?u jintilfu fl-elezzjoni generali?

    10. Peter Cardona says:

      Where are the leaders of the Gozo church? How many people have to die to stop this nonsense with fireworks.

      May they rest happy with God.

    11. KC says:

      My deepest condelences to all those that have lost their loved ones in such a terrible tragedy.How many people need to die each year before the authorites take action and stop firworks being made here.So many lives are lost each year.Familes are torn apart, loved ones are left behind, whether young or old those that are left behind are struggling to continue to move ahead.Let us all wake up and voice ourselves to stop such tragedies.

      May they rest in peace.

    12. Joseph Caruana says:

      The celebratory bells of St George’s Basilica have been ringing today to celebrate it’s anniversary and the Xaghra feast is to go ahead as usual.

      Whatever has happened to respect, sympathy or solidarity with the victims and their families who have been devastated by this terrible tragedy?

    13. dv says:

      Xaghra Parish yesterday cancelled all outside activities as a sign of condolence to the victims.

    14. John Proffitt-White says:

      A very sad time for Gozo, may I send my condolences to the families involved.

    15. CM says:

      Xaghra cancelled all outside activities, but in the meantime all the flags are high up in the sky! They should be half mast, out of respect!

      I used to think that fireworks were literally money being burnt up in the air, nowadays its starting to become people being burnt up in the air!

      I’m just sorry for the families left behind, because those are the ones that will suffer the consequences!

      Do we need a national disaster to wake up??!!

    16. Joseph Caruana says:

      @dv “Xaghra Parish yesterday cancelled all outside activities as a sign of condolence to the victims”

      As the tragic explosion occurred after 6.00pm and news of casualties did not emerge until later in the evening, then not exactly a large portion of the celebrations must have been cancelled?

      Also, has CM rightly commented above, why at least are the flags not being flown at half mast to show some respect?

    17. Karine Waldron says:

      This is just tragic news. I’ve been to many festas on Gozo over the years, and always thought that public safety at the events were ambiguous to say the least; and that’s just on the streets where thousands gather for celebrations every year.

      One can only wonder what safety precautions are in place for those who work in these factories, and for those who live near them. Are they regulated? Are they checked and audited? It makes a mockery of Malta’s EU status.

      It may be tiny, but its inhabitants are no less worthy of the basic human right to be safe. Shame on the authorities. Sort it out.

    18. Denise moorhouse says:

      My family would just like to express our sorrow at the tragedy which has happened on Gozo, we have just had a fortnights holiday in Gharb and know how close the community is, we enjoyed the fireworks at the feast in Victoria but the safety of the inhabitants should always come first

      Our thoughts are with the families.

    19. JG says:


      Just because it is regulated doesn’t mean it would be any safer. I hope they don’t conform to the EU nonsense.

      Checking and auditing has nothing to do with the most likely root cause of the explosion.
      One thing that has changed is the introduction of e-matches for the pyromusical. E-matches are shock sensitive. They should only be installed in the field and NOT transported with them installed in the shell. If the shell was handled rough when it was being loaded into a vehicle they can fire without applying electricity.

      This may be why the number of accidents has increased.

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