Seventeen people received burns – two needing hospital treatment – by falling sparks when a fireworks display in Croydon town centre went wrong last night.
Two children were reported to be among those injured in the incident, which was part of Croydon’s Christmas lights switch-on, fronted by TV presenter Stephen Mulhern.
The company running the event, Dragonfire Ltds, Croydon Council and co-organisers, Croydon Business Improvement District have all launched investigations into the event.
London Ambulance Service said it had treated three people, two requiring hospital treatment. Most of the injuries were believed to be minor.
Christmas lights switch on. Croydon. #christmas #lights #switchon15 #fireworks
Posted by Claudia Amaral on Thursday, 12 November 2015
Erica Fisher, 25, told the Croydon Guardian that her child was “hit on the neck and it went through his jacket and burnt his skin. He was screaming. Everyone was trying to get away from it. He was terrified.”
Magdelena Parker, 31, told the Standard “I got some on my face, and my hand, it just wouldn’t stop burning. It’s still painful three hours later.”
Lucia Rodrigues Ferreira posted on Facebook that she had been hit in the corner of her eye, while a friend swallowed embers and burned her throat.
Witnesses of the incident tweeted their fear last night.
Only in Croydon will they have fireworks display that starts burning people. About its setting fire to my child’s coat lol, poxy place
— Charley Louise (@charley89louise) November 12, 2015
The show was organised by fireworks display company Dragonfire Ltds. When asked if the firm had issued an official apology, spokesman Andy Firkin said earlier today: “We haven’t…it’s very recent. We can’t say anything at the moment.”
“We’re gutted…we have no idea [what caused it] as yet”, he added.
Dragonfire Ltds have not yet launched an investigation, but are aiming to do so “as soon as we can”, Firkin said.
A spokeswoman for Croydon BID said it was too early to tell who is to blame for the incident, and said investigations were “ongoing”.
Croydon BID said: “We are in contact with those affected to express our concern over the incident and to find out how they are. The safety and security of everyone in Croydon town centre is of paramount importance to us.”
Croydon Council said: “We are conducting our own investigation into what happened and our thoughts are with the members of the public affected.”
Dragonfire Ltds were scheduled to produce another event in Cardiff this weekend, but are now considering cancelling due to high winds.
By Isabel Togoh