Explosions rip through Australian fireworks factory | world | Hindustan Times
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Explosions rip through Australian fireworks factory

world Updated: Dec 09, 2007 17:21 IST

A series of explosions ripped through a fireworks factory in eastern Australia, shattering windows and shaking people from their beds in a nearby town, officials said on Sunday.

At least 10 homes in Wallerawang, 160 kilometres north of Sydney, were temporarily evacuated overnight as emergency services kept their distance from the factory while the blasts went off, said Rebel Talbert, a spokeswoman for New South Wales state Rural Fire Service.

People reported hearing the explosions 30 kilometres away, she said. Fire Brigade duty commander Mick Carroll said some had been woken by the noise.

Authorities set up a one-kilometre overnight exclusion zone around the Howard and Sons Fireworks, Talbert said.

Police and other officials entered the site today and were sifting through the wreckage to find the cause of the explosions, which started in a shipping container used to store fireworks.

No workers were at the factory at the time of the explosions, but it was possible someone broke in and was caught in the blasts, said police Superintendent Greg Martin.

"There's a lot of debris and rubble that has to be sorted through yet, to try and find if there are persons inside, but I can tell you there were no people legitimately on the site when the explosion occurred," he told Australian Broadcasting Corp radio.

Two buildings at the factory were destroyed in a fire caused by burning fireworks.