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Last Updated: Wednesday, 6 December 2006, 14:30 GMT
PM tribute to fire blast victims
Brian Wembridge and Geoff Wicker
Cameraman Brian Wembridge and sub-officer Geoff Wicker were killed
Tributes have been paid in the House of Commons to the two fire service personnel killed in a blast at a fireworks depot in East Sussex.

Prime Minister Tony Blair said Brian Wembridge, 63, and Geoff Wicker, 49, had "died protecting their community".

Conservative leader David Cameron echoed the tribute to "the two brave men who lost their lives".

Mr Wembridge and Mr Wicker died in an explosion at the Festival fireworks UK Ltd site, near Lewes, on Sunday.

Mr Blair said on Wednesday: "Our thoughts and prayers are with their families at this time."

Books of condolence are being signed at town halls and fire stations across Sussex.

Flowers have been left at the Heathfield and Crowborough stations where the two men were based.

Aerial view of the scene
The depot and nearby buildings were gutted in the fire

One tribute to Mr Wicker had a picture of a firefighter with the words, "I love you so much, Uncle Geoff".

The cause of the fire and explosion at Festival fireworks UK Ltd, on Marley Farm, Shortgate, is still unknown.

It destroyed the fireworks depot, the home of the business's owner Martin Winter, and a steel fabrication facility.

One injured man remains in hospital with chest and facial injuries.

Forensic examinations have begun at the scene of the fire, but police said the investigation into exactly what happened would be "meticulous and time-consuming".

The site was previously too dangerous to enter, although access was allowed on Tuesday afternoon for the recovery of one of the bodies.


VIDEO AND AUDIO NEWS
See footage of the blast taken from seven miles away



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