Suspect fireworks explode in Philippines, injuring 27

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A batch of suspect fireworks exploded accidentally during their disposal in the southern Philippines, injuring 27 people, most of them explosives experts, police said Tuesday.

The blast happened on Monday as a team of police, coast guard, marine and fire personnel disposed of firecrackers retrieved from a nearby warehouse, where an explosion on June 29 killed five people and injured 38 others, in Zamboanga city on Mindanao island.

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The fireworks were the third and final batch to be taken from the warehouse to an abandoned government-owned shooting range for a controlled explosion, regional police spokeswoman Lieutenant Colonel Helen Galvez told AFP by telephone.

They had been offloaded from a pick-up truck and were being doused with water when they ignited prematurely.

“It was accidental,” Galvez said.

“It was not intended to be a massive explosion.”

Twenty members of the disposal team were injured, including six seriously.

Seven civilians suffered minor injuries when the blast damaged a dozen houses and other buildings nearby, as well as four vehicles.

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