71-year-old woman among five dead in Italian fireworks factory explosion

Five people have died in a blast at a family-run fireworks factory in Sicily, while another two suffered serious injuries.

Italian firefighters and Carabinieri police said the owner’s 71-year-old wife was among the victims and his son was taken to hospital in a serious condition, following the explosion on Wednesday afternoon.

According to police, workers at the depot in the Sicilian town of Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto may have accidentally set off the explosion with welding equipment.

Firefighters sprayed water over the damage. Credit: Vigili del Fuoco/AP

The security of fireworks depots has been long-debated in Italy, where the production of fireworks is often a family-run venture.

According to consumers association Codacons, 68 people have died in explosions in fireworks firms since 2000.