UK & World News

  • 2 September 2014, 1:46

Wedding Fireworks Dead Still Not Identified

It could be days before the victims of a fireworks explosion in Cumbria are formally identified due to the extent of their burns, Sky News understands.

The man and woman who died in the tragedy, at a wedding celebration on the banks of Lake Windermere, are thought to have been pyrotechnic technicians preparing for a display - but they have yet to be named.

Seventy guests had gathered on Saturday at the lakeside cottage of John Simpson and Nicole Rothwell, who had married earlier in the week.

As they posed for pictures after the blessing, the shed where the fireworks were stored caught light.

Eyewitness Anthony Middleton was visiting the adjacent Brockhole Lake District Visitor Centre with his wife and children.

He said: "We heard a series of very loud bangs that shook the ground. Then we saw the fireworks.

"We thought it was strange to have a firework display in the afternoon, and then when I saw the smoke and the fire I quickly realised something had gone badly wrong.

"I filmed it for a short while, but then thought of the safety of my family and moved away."

Neighbours told Sky News the flames from the blaze were higher than the nearby trees, which stand about 20 metres tall.

One of them, Enid Battersby, said: "It was very frightening. It was an enormous explosion.

"There was this one big sound followed by further smaller bangs and pops and a cloud of smoke then drifted over as all the police cars and fire engines arrived."

A joint inquiry into the cause of the fire has been launched by the police, the fire service, and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE).

Forensic examinations of the scene have been completed, and a cordon around parts of the property has been removed.

Trading Standards are also involved in the investigation into the two deaths, as the sheds in which the fire started was registered as a licences fireworks store.

However, the Fire Service say there is no suggestion at this stage that the explosives were being stored incorrectly.

The cottage and other surrounding residences within the same grounds have private jetties at Lake Windermere.

The newlyweds were today unavailable for comment.

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