Thursday, June 25, 2009

A near disaster

The night of San Juan has the potential for creating disasters. The combination of lighting fires and children with fireworks is a recipe for something to go wrong.

Tuesday night there was near tragedy in Alicante when children throwing fireworks, accidentally set fire to scrubland adjacent to a train line. The fire quickly spread to units that were being used to store materials for the construction of the high speed train line (AVE).

The flames from the fire reached seven metres high into the sky and the smoke could be seen billowing over the city. Luckily the area was cordoned off by firemen before two acetylene gas containers exploded sending the bottles 50 metres into the air.

Houses in the area were evacuated and RENFE switched off the power to the overhead cable which meant that no trains could run for nearly two hours.

Luckily nobody was injured.

The sale of illegal fireworks is rife especially at the time of hogueras.

A special unit of Alicante local police, set up to control the sale of illegal pyrotechnics during the 'hogueras' fiestas, seized 500 kilos of unlicensed fireworks this year.

Fireworks are carried around in vans and distributed among an army of sellers on the streets. The storage and transport does not conform to current safety
standards and the quality of the good being offered for sale is also sub standard.

In one case a woman was discovered carrying three kilos of fireworks in a pram with a baby inside.

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