Wednesday, November 18, 1998 Published at 06:12 GMT
Fireworks factory goes up in smoke
The smouldering wreckage testifies to the power of the blast
An investigation is under way to find out what triggered an explosion and fire in a fireworks factory which led to several homes being evacuated.
Windows were blown out in houses near the factory in Uffculme, Devon, but amazingly none of the 13 workers at the plant was seriously hurt.
One person received an eye injury and several people suffered shock in Tuesday's blast and 35 firemen tackled the blaze caused by the explosion.
The fire, which happened less than two weeks after Guy Fawkes Night, sparked a series of explosions inside the building which were followed by a major explosion.
Nearby homes and industrial units were evacuated and power was cut off for a time.
"It was raining down in our yard, pieces of container and roof and we all ran for cover."
Rachel Tucker, who runs the post office in the village, which is not far from the Somerset border, said there was "an enormous explosion" which cut off many people's electricity.
She said: "I've never seen anything like it in my life. It was unbelievable.
Devon Fire Brigade spokesman Dave Canniford said: "Because of the risk of the explosions, our firefighters had to fight the fire from a safe distance until they had died down."
Divisional officer Graham Reed said the scene was one of "wide devastation" when his men arrived.
The Fire Brigade and the Health and Safety Executive will be conducting separating inquiries into the cause of the blast.
"We do not know what caused that first firework to go off."
But Mr Hutchinson said the company would rebuild and added: "We are in the business of exciting people, and we have the millennium coming up."