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Last Updated: Tuesday, 27 June 2006, 17:10 GMT 18:10 UK
Probe begins into explosion death
Anthony Sheridan
Anthony Sheridan's family are devastated by his death
An investigation is under way after a 37-year-old man died when an industrial oven exploded at a defence factory.

Anthony Sheridan, of Pound Road, Over Wallop, died in the blast on Monday.

Police said the Wallop Defence Systems factory at Middle Wallop, near Andover in Hampshire, would remain closed for the rest of the week.

The two hundred-strong workforce was removed from the site in Craydown Lane and nearby roads were closed over fears that other ovens could explode.

The explosion took place in a building used to produce explosive flares.

Mr Sheridan's sister, Tracy Fudge, 31, said: "I speak on behalf of my whole family when I say that Anthony was the best brother anyone could ever have.

His death has broken our hearts
Family statement

"He had a heart of gold and would do anything for anyone. Anthony was a gentle man with a big heart and a big smile.

"My parents and family, who live in Northern Ireland, cannot believe that we will never see Anthony again and his death has broken our hearts."

The firm, near the Army Air Corps training base, makes high technology electronic countermeasures and decoys for aircraft.

The factory at Wallop Defence Systems
Part of the building was completely demolished in the explosion

John Taylor, managing director of Wallop Defence Systems, said: "The factory will be closed, obviously pending that investigation. We also need to clear up.

"We need to give our workforce a chance to recover and we then need to understand what caused the explosion."

Police said four other people suffered minor injuries in the explosion.

A spokesman for Hampshire Fire Service said: "Part of the building has been completely demolished and there's debris spread over the area of a football pitch.

"Apparently there was a fire ball and a plume of smoke which quickly almost extinguished itself."

One killed in factory explosion
26 Jun 06 |  Hampshire

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