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Fatal fireworks factory rooms set to be rebuilt

The explosion at the Fontana Fireworks Factory in Għarb last November killed four people, including the owner George Gatt. Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar

The explosion at the Fontana Fireworks Factory in Għarb last November killed four people, including the owner George Gatt. Photo: Paul Zammit Cutajar

The planning authority yesterday approved the rebuilding of three rooms in a fireworks factory where four men died in an explosion last November.

The blast demolished structures at the Fontana Fireworks Factory in Għarb, with owner George Gatt among the victims.

The application to rebuild was filed in March by his nephew Andrew Gatt, who is also the secretary of the fireworks factory.

Mepa approved the reconstruction of the mixing room, workshop and kitchen together with the replacement of a concrete passageway that was damaged in the explosion.

The case officer’s report emphasised that the application was not for a new fireworks factory but to rebuild struc-tures in “an existing factory with a valid permission”.

It was considered to be “necessary” since the proposed rooms were similar to the original and they “provide essential infrastructure” for the factory’s safe operation.

The proposed development had been cleared by the Civil Protection Department, the armed forces’ explosives committee and the Environment Protection Department. The factory is situated in an outside development zone and in an area of ecological importance.

The fireworks factory had been granted its original permit in 2003.

Three years ago, six people died in another explosion at the nearby Ta’ Nenu’s Fireworks Factory – the permit for which was not renewed by the owners.

In 2010, the Għarb local council held a referendum and residents voted against any more fireworks factories being built on the outskirts of the village.

Għarb fireworks explosions

2012: Fontana Brothers Fireworks Factory owned by George Gatt explodes, killing four.

2010: The Ta’ Nenu Fireworks Factory is wiped out in an explosion, killing six people, including the owner and members of his family.

2005: Explosion at Ta’ Nenu Fireworks Factory owned by Nenu Farrugia damaged eight of the 10 rooms but no one was injured.

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