Sunday 15 December 2019

Six people injured after firework falls into crowd after Christmas lights switched on by EastEnders' star

Steve McFadden arriving for the 2014 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena, London.
Steve McFadden arriving for the 2014 National Television Awards at the O2 Arena, London.

Claire Hayhurst

Six people were injured when a stray firework fell into the crowd during a Christmas lights switch on by EastEnders actor Steve McFadden.

The incident happened in Salisbury, Wiltshire, after McFadden, who plays Phil Mitchell in the soap, turned on the lights with Father Christmas.

Fireworks were fired from the roof of the city's Guildhall to mark the end of last night's event, which was attended by up to 14,000 people.

One firework malfunctioned, causing debris to fall to the ground in Queen Street and New Canal, where crowds had gathered.

Eight people were seen by paramedics, with five treated for minor injuries at the scene and one taken to hospital as a "precaution".

A spokeswoman for Salisbury City Council said the fireworks display, due to last for between six and eight minutes, had been provided by a professional firm.

"Salisbury City Council are today beginning to conduct a full investigation into an incident that occurred at the Salisbury Christmas lights switch on event on Thursday 20 November," she said.

"During the firework part of the event, at approximately 7.05pm, it would appear that a firework malfunctioned.

"This resulted in debris falling to the ground in Queen Street and New Canal. St John Ambulance, who were present throughout the event, saw eight people and treated five for minor injuries.

"One person was taken to hospital as a precautionary measure.

"The council apologise for any distress this incident caused and are currently carrying out a full investigation with all involved."

Salisbury City Council has been running the popular event since 2009.

Victim Brett Bowles told the BBC he was hit by pieces of firework at the beginning of the display.

"The first few had gone over and then suddenly it felt like someone had thrown a bottle, which hit me in the side of the head," Mr Bowles said.

"Then I looked down on the floor and there were some old firework remains there and the blood just pouring from my head."

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