Fireworks halted for safety reasons at Letchworth GC Christmas Lights Switch-On
A firework display celebrating the switching on of a town s Christmas lights was halted after the large crowd watching the event was showered with debris, some still alight. One child had a hole burned in her coat as a firework fell on her and others rush
A firework display celebrating the switching on of a town's Christmas lights was halted after the large crowd watching the event was showered with debris, some still alight.
One child had a hole burned in her coat as a firework fell on her and others rushed for cover as dust and grit rained down on them. Many were treated by St John Ambulance staff.
The fireworks were let off from the roof of a building in Letchworth GC town centre as part of the celebrations organised by the Letchworth Garden City Town Centre Partnership (LGCTCP) on Friday night.
LGCTCP said problems were caused by the wind and the display was curtailed for safety reasons.
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Liz Wilkinson, of Bedford Road, Letchworth GC, who was with her husband Mark, said: "People were panicking and trying to find shelter and were pushing. It was frightening with all the hot ash and fireworks still alight falling around us.
"It was frightening for both children and adults alike as the bangs were ear piercing and the fireworks were so close to us that all the firework shrapnel came down on to the audience. Then the cartridges were flying through the air and hitting people on the head.
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"My husband had stuff fly in his eye and a little girl standing near us had a firework land on her arm which burnt through her jacket and left a massive hole."
One mother emailed the Comet saying: "What I didn't expect was most of the lights not to work and then be showered in the embers from the fireworks.
"It was a total disaster with children screaming as the hot ashes fell into their eyes, and people trying to shelter in doorways to escape the flying remains of rockets."
The fallout from the fireworks was also witnessed by James Moy who said: "You couldn't look up and watch the fireworks because you got grit in your face and eyes. Some kids were scared and the bangs were really loud. "Many people couldn't believe how close the fireworks were because they were not going up very high and some were coming down half alight on people."
Martin Fletcher, LGCTCP manager, said: "We have been sorry to learn from St John Ambulance that some of the audience were affected by fall-out which may have occurred because of sudden gusting of the wind and a change in its direction.
"As soon as these factors became evident, the display operators curtailed events for safety reasons."
"Any suggestion that the public ran for cover or indeed that the fireworks were a fiasco is not an accurate portrayal of what happened. Overall, the event passed off well with the public applauding at the end of the display, and continuing to enjoy the party atmosphere on into the night.