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Danish fireworks factory fire

With the major fire after a series of heavy explosions in the Danish fireworks factory "N.P. Johnsen" one firefighter was killed. The firefighter (33) was found dead on the scene, having been knocked unconscious by a blast and then overcome by smoke inhalation. 17 people were reported injured (including six firemen - they suffered burns, including one who was in serious condition -, rescue workers and police officers). The injuries reported included firefighters suffering from asphyxiation, people injured by broken glass and other debris, or who were knocked to the ground by the massive shockwave caused by exploding fireworks. Overnight, about 60 people were under medical observation after complaining about respiratory problems.

After the detonations a large smoke cloud hung over the factory. Shortly before 6 p.m. (1700GMT), two more powerful blasts rocked the burning factory buildings and a nearby warehouse, shattering windows in downtown Kolding, some 3 kilometers (1.9 miles) away. One of the explosions was the equivalent of a magnitude-2 earthquake, according to the Geological Survey of Denmark and Greenland.

The factory and many nearby buildings were severely damaged by the fire and exploding fireworks. Some 20 houses were feared to have burned. Some 350 buildings, including private homes and small businesses, were damaged, many of them now uninhabitable due to fire damage, smoke damage and shock waves from series of explosions.

By 9 p.m. (2000GMT), the fire was still out of control and burning in several factory buildings. Because of fears of more explosions and igniting fireworks, some 700 homes, or approximately 2,000 people, within a kilometre (more than a half-mile) of the fireworks factory were - to set up a security perimeter – evacuated to nearby schools and elder care centers. It might take days before people can return

The blaze was thought to have started Wednesday when two containers of fireworks were being loaded onto a truck, police said. It quickly spread to a nearby building and led to a chain reaction of explosions. What caused the containers to combust remains unknown.

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