3 dead and 1 missing in Gharb Firework Factory Tragedy

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Explosion heard from Gharb firework factory this afternoon At least two powerful explosions were reported in Gozo this afternoon, just before 2.45pm – see video below.

The blasts, heard by local residents, produced a large mushroom cloud and came from the direction of one of the firework factories on the outskirts of Gharb

They were heard across the island and shook buildings in Victoria and the surrounding areas.

The emergency services were on their way to the area shortly afterwards, including ambulances and the fire and rescue services.

The explosions took place a short distance away from the fireworks factory that blew up in 2010 which lead to the tragic loss of 6 lives.

Explosion heard from Gharb firework factory this afternoon The photograph above is taken from the top of Fanal ta’ Gordan hill by George Mario Attard after the 2nd explosion.

Update 1: A third explosion took place at around 3.30pm, at a time when the rescue services were on site. Police have confirmed that the factory was known as Ta Marozz and is situated close to the San Dimitri Chapel.

There are reports that four vehicles were seen at the factory before the explosions. People at the scene have said that four people were thought to have been inside.

Police have appealed to the general public not to go near to the area of the explosion.

Update 2: Three men have been confirmed dead following the explosions earlier this afternoon. The search and rescue teams are still looking for a fourth person.

Update 3: Rescuers have suspended the search for the fourth person this evening, it will be resumed tomorrow morning. The four people have been named as Gorg Gatt, Mario Gauci, Peppi Cini and Brian Portelli.

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    9 Responses

    1. Peter says:

      Sadly, these deaths have so far been completely unnecessary and without a scope.

    2. mickh911 says:

      i am so sad for the family’s of the killed, but it could have been avoided. these places are accidents waiting to happen, my job in uk was delivering explosives to firework manufacturers, and i used to complain about all the red tape and security at these places, occurrences like this make me realise what it was all for,
      the authorities should clamp down and tighten the regulations about who operates them, and where the factories are, same thing go’s for gas supply depot’s, the one in the village of xewkija being a prime example, right in the middle of a residential area,
      health and safety ! ! !

    3. James A. Tyrrell says:

      I think the time has come for all of these factories to be closed down. If fireworks are needed at all then they should be produced in a centralised Government controlled factory. I know these people have been making fireworks for generations and I’m not trying to belittle in any way the skills that they have, but surely this yearly loss of life has to stop. Too many fathers and sons are dying needlessly.

      My condolences to all the families involved in this latest tragedy.

    4. Colin Hamer says:

      No one should die at work …..but when health and safety is mentioned people laugh and say its is irrelevant. Hazards can never or at least rarely be eliminated but risks can be reduced with proper sensible risk assessments …..clearly the lessons from the 2010 disaster have not been learned …..heartbreaking for the families and friends of the dead.

    5. Anthony Zammit says:

      May they rest in peace. We all have to die one day, but no one wants to go, yet. We are all living in a hazardous world, a whole family could be sitting in front of her house one summer night and a drunk driver can kill them all. Many cranes have cup sided and fishermen lost their live while on their job, builders, electricity men. We are full of dangers: The Government and the responsible particular is always seeking and studying ways how to make the work space safer. The Government facilitates work forces to lessen risk and issue laws. Is or has anybody really taken an interest to study and assess the fire work industry? There are professional people who study and give suggestions. I have no idea myself of how this art work is carried out but I feel that there might be ample room for improvement. I could be wrong but if I am then let us help these people have a safer place. One of the boats of Gozo Channel I believe has a bomb proof door so this ferry can carry fireworks and if they explode the passengers on top will not be harmed! Maybe such material could be used for the building of firework rooms. Maybe Maltese franka stones should not be used at all to save people who have died not by the blast but by the fallen cement roof and stones. p.s. James A. Tyrrell…. a centralised Government controlled factory handling ALL the needed firework. WHAT A BLAST it will be!! another Hiroshima!. Good idea.

      • James A. Tyrrell says:

        The main point I was trying to get across Anthony was that this type of work should be done in a purpose built factory by professionals rather than in stone rooms by well meaning amateurs. No matter how much experience they have how many are qualified chemists?

      • Anthony Zammit says:

        A quilified chimist will go and work in a pharmacy or a good paid safe place my dear Watson.

    6. myriam says:

      they should close them down too many people killed

    7. dan says:

      They have been closing firework factories in gozo no there is 1 left by gharb close to the one that blew up in 2010 and 2012 they might start re-opening fireworks factory’s like they are talking about re-opening the sannat factory because it is the safest one that was on the island

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