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Spectators slam 'shambles' Ringwood Raceway firework event at Matchams after truck blaze sends projectiles into crowd

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SPECTATORS hit out at organisers of a fireworks display at Matchams race track after a truck containing fireworks caught light and the explosives shot out into the crowd.

A pushchair containing a baby was among those reportedly struck by stray projectiles, which were also said to have hit parked vehicles and forced some to flee for safety during Saturday night’s event, which also included banger racing, off Hurn Road in Ringwood.

Many took to Facebook to share their anger about the incident, with one recalling seeing an upset youngster with a “massive” burn on their back.

No serious injuries were officially reported.

Firefighters were sent shortly before 9.30pm, but the flames were out by the time the crews from Ringwood and Christchurch arrived at the scene.

Thousands were said to have attended Ringwood Raceway’s event – advertised as Banger Racing and Huge Firework Display – which did not require people to book.

Disaster struck when a truck containing unlit fireworks burst into flames, sending them shooting out in all directions.

One spectator posted on Facebook afterwards: “Surprised I wasn't injured tonight, the fireworks were not under control.

"This has scared so many people. I will not be going there again.

“This cost a lot of money to get in and no safety precaution in place!”

Branding the event a “total shambles”, another attendee said fireworks were not as high as he thought they should have been, before fleeing the scene when the truck caught light.

One mother wrote: “My nine-year-old daughter was screaming she was so traumatised. Terrible, terrible thing to witness.

“Had to leave as it was so dangerous. Such a sad end to a good evening. I hope no one was seriously injured.”

She added the ordeal left her child unable to sleep on her own that night.

Others criticised the organisers for deciding to run another banger race while the fire was still burning on an area of land in the middle of the arena.

One called on Ringwood Raceway Events and its fireworks team to launch an enquiry into the incident.

He also demanded the organisers review their health and safety standards for such events and apologise to all those who saw Saturday’s drama.

“It was an absolute disgrace and no consideration of health and safety whatsoever,” he wrote.

“Once the fireworks were going off into the crowd that should [have] been enough, but no, they still carried on until their truck caught alight. At what point were they going to stop? Who in their right mind would set off fireworks near vehicles, for one thing?

“I have done first aid myself many years ago, and have witnessed first-hand what damage fireworks can do to people's bodies and the effect that it can do to your eyes. I was absolutely disgusted and surprised that there were no serous casualties last night.

“I feel so sorry for anyone that may [have] been injured and sorry for any children who were scared by this performance and encourage you to write a complaint if you have been.”

However, some others said they enjoyed the event and believed the incident was safely dealt with.

The A&T has contacted Ringwood Raceway Events for a statement.

A Dorset & Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service spokesperson said: “We were called to reports of a fire involving a vehicle containing fireworks at Matchams Arena on Saturday night.

“We received three 999 calls at 9.23pm and sent two crews, from Christchurch and Ringwood.

“The fire had been extinguished when we arrived so no action was required and our stop was at 9.47pm.”

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