Five people have been killed in the blast in the Messina region of Sicily. Police said workers at the family-run firework factory may have accidentally set off the explosion with welding equipment.
Five people died Wednesday in a blast at a fireworks factory in Sicily, according to Italian police and firefighters. Two others suffered serious injuries.
Italian media reported that two workers and the 71-year-old wife of the owner of the family-run firm in Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto were immediately killed.
A worker reported missing was later discovered dead and one of the injured who had been pulled from the rubble died at a nearby hospital.
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The proprietor's son was one of the injured and taken to hospital in Palermo, Sicily's capital.
Workers may have accidentally set off the explosion with welding equipment, police said.
Employees were preparing for New Year's festivities. Firework displays are common in Italy's south, including Sicily, and are intended to deter evil spirits.
Italian newspaper La Repubblica reported that the factory had experienced an explosion roughly 20 years ago, but that there were no deaths on that occasion.
cw,jsi/stb (dpa, AFP)