MaltaToday | 22 June 2008 | St Helena men remembered… with fireworks fundraiser!

NEWS | Sunday, 22 June 2008

St Helena men remembered… with fireworks fundraiser!

Sabrina Agius

The anniversary of the five fireworks manufacturers who met their fate in the tragic fireworks explosion of the St Helen’s factory is about to be remembered with a fundraiser for the production of, ironically, more fireworks.
A barbeque will be organised to raise funds for this year’s fireworks for Birkirkara’s St Helen’s feast which falls on 19 August, in a commemorative gesture to the last year's tragedy - not without some irony.
Last year, five men were killed on site as they were preparing fireworks for the St Helen’s feast. On the first anniversary of their death, the victims’ memory will be marked with the collection of money for yet more fireworks.
The explosion at the St Helen’s factory was one of the worst of its kind. The victims were those of Censu Galea, 68, Paul Bonnici, 47, and Carmel Farrugia, still in his 20s, two days after the incident, and a day after the corpses of Sonny Borg, 34, and Richard Cardona, 24, were recovered from the Ta’ Xwieki quarry in Gharghur. The sole survivor, Joe Bonello, was recovering from burns.
The factory had already been the scene of another tragic death: in 1994, Ninu Borg, 71 from Birkirkara, died when a part of the factory exploded.
Like the Zebbug fireworks factory explosion which left two people dead two years ago, the silence from the authorities on the requirements necessary to make fireworks factories safer was proof that lessons have not been learnt from previous deaths.
Only two weeks ago did the government tabled a new Bill in parliament to increase the penalties against the illegal storage and manufacture of fireworks, mainly in response to the explosion in the middle of Naxxar that killed two and demolished houses. The explosion occurred due to the illegal storage and manufacture inside a Naxxar basement.

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