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Duo hurt as firework van explodes in Shoreham
Two men suffered burns after one threw the end of a cigarette into a pile of fireworks in their van.
The pair were driving in Shoreham when they lost control of the vehicle and crashed off the road.
One of the men then discarded his lit cigarette into the back of the van, which was filled with fireworks.
Fuel, the cigarette and the bangers combined and the van was soon engulfed in flames as fireworks started to go off.
Witnesses described hearing the fireworks “explode” following the incident in Middle Road at 3.20pm on Friday, November 9, outside a park.
One of the people in the van was named locally as 22-year-old Omar Wright, who was taken to hospital.
His 16-year-old sister, Jerrilee Wright, of Adelaide Square, Shoreham, said her brother was taken in for treatment to see if he needed a skin graft.
Jerrilee said she initially feared her brother had been killed.
She said: “His arms have been burnt but his face was scorched.
“His arm tattoo has been burnt off.
“He was with another man called Dale.
“I think they crashed and one of them lit a cigarette and it started the fire. His mini motorbike and fireworks were in the back.”
A witness said: “I was down the road and I could see the flames.
“There was banging and I could hear the fireworks exploding in the van.”
Kelly Ratcliffe, who lives with her partner Matt Knight in Middle Road, Shoreham, ran outside after hearing a bang.
Mr Knight said: “She said the van went up after it hit a post.”
A Sussex Police spokesman confirmed they attended the incident and “fireworks and fuel” were involved.
A West Sussex Fire and Rescue spokesman added: “There was a fire and fireworks were involved.
“The van and motorcycle in it were 100% damaged.
“Two breathing apparatus were used. It was accidental ignition and two men suffered burns.”
Yesterday the area was marked off by cones.
The ground was scorched and a pole was taped off.
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