COUNTY NEWS VIDEO: Firework explodes in face of Sussex bonfire boy

A Sussex man had a lucky escape after a firework exploded in his face during a display at the weekend.

Thursday, 17th November 2016, 4:55 pm
Updated Thursday, 7th June 2018, 6:07 pm
Ollie Griffen lies on the ground after a firework went off in his face in Ely, Cambs. Photo courtesy of SWNS. SUS-161115-135358001

Battel Bonfire Boye Ollie Griffen was part of a team of 10 people detonating fireworks at the Ely XT firework display in Cambridgeshire on Saturday (November 12) when the accident happened.

Video footage of the incident, recorded by a spectator, shows the 20-year-old falling to the ground after the firework exploded as it was lit.

Ollie was rushed to Addenbrooke’s Hospital in Cambridge amid fears his eye had been damaged in the blast.

But remarkably, Ollie was left with bruising and swelling and was given the all clear by eye specialists. He is now recovering at home.

Ollie’s parents have been members of the Battel Bonfire Boyes for many years and Ollie grew up participating in local bonfire events.

He is an experienced ‘fireman’ - a person who detonates the fireworks - and was wearing appropriate safety equipment, including a helmet with face cover, when the accident happened.

The Battel Bonfire Boyes prefer to detonate their fireworks electronically, but on the night of the incident they were lit manually due to the wet weather leading up to the event in Ely.

Battel Bonfire Boyes spokesperson Matt Southam said the society had experienced nothing like this before and the incident had left Ollie’s bonfire brothers shaken.

He told the Observer: “It was a bit of a shock for everyone. Luckily the injury did not look as bad as we initially thought. But on the night, no one really knew.”

The Battel Bonfire Boyes were due to put on a fireworks display at Battle and Langton School tonight (Friday, November 18) but have chosen to postpone the event following Ollie’s injury.

Matt said: “We are postponing it for a while to establish what went wrong and give the crew time to recover from what was a traumatic experience.”

The event will be rescheduled for a later date.

Battel Bonfire Boyes have thanked all the first aiders, paramedics and crew who rushed to Ollie’s aid on the night.

An investigation has been launched into the incident.

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