Fireworks have claimed over 100 lives over the past century, according to police historian, Eddie Attard who is researching fireworks related deaths.

Mr Attard plans to publish a book about the subject.

"I am willing to work with anyone who might have information about these cases.

"I am not interested in sensationalising incidents. In a way, the book will be a tribute to those who died so that people can enjoy the spectacle fireworks provide," he said.

Tragic cases being unearthed by Mr Attard include the deaths of people who were mere observers.

In 1963, a boy in Ghaxaq was beheaded by a petard while watching a fireworks display.

The biggest fireworks related tragedy did not take place in a fireworks factory, but on a patrol boat, when illegally manufactured fireworks were being dumped at sea.

Seven people died on September 7, 1984 when an explosion occurred on a patrol boat in the channel between Malta and Gozo.

Another tragedy of a similar magnitude occurred at Balzan in 1903, when six people died in the band club, where fireworks were manufactured and stored. The parish priest's sister, who lived next door, was among those killed.

Over the years, there were four other explosions with five deaths: In Zejtun, Ghaxaq, Naxxar and the latest one at Gharghur last June.

In one incident at Naxxar in 1935, the wife of one of those killed gave birth on the same day her husband died.

Zebbug and Qrendi are the localities with the highest number of incidents, with 11 each, with Naxxar having 10. Gozo too, has a high percentage of accidents: 18.

Mosta and Rabat have not experienced fireworks-related deaths.

Anyone wishing to pass on any information to Mr Attard can contact him on or call him on 2133 9088.

Independent journalism costs money. Support Times of Malta for the price of a coffee.

Support Us