AN explosion which killed five men at an industrial estate in Boston, Lincolnshire, is being investigated amid reports that the unit was being used to brew alcohol illegally.
A sixth man was taken to hospital suffering severe burns following the blast at the Broadfield Lane industrial estate last night.
Police, fire and ambulance crews were called to the scene at around 7.20pm.
Steve Moore, area manager from Lincolnshire Fire and Rescue Service, said a total of six fire engines were sent to the estate.
“When the first crews attended they were faced with a really serious fire and a casualty who was outside the building suffering from burns.
"The flames set alight a car outside the unit and also buckled its roller shutters, meaning crews were forced to use hydraulic equipment to cut their way into the block,” he said.
He described the incident as one of the most serious he had ever seen in his 28-year career.
“As far as the crews I have spoken to, its the single greatest loss of life in fire in their experience,” he said.
Nerys McGarry, spokeswoman for Lincolnshire Police, said: 'We were called to an industrial unit at Broadfield Lane, Boston, shortly before 7.30pm.
'There was an explosion. There have been five confirmed fatalities. They were all men. I understand it to have been an instant explosion that caused their deaths.
'A further man has been taken to the Pilgrim Hospital, Boston, with serious injuries. He has been transferred to the Queens Medical Centre at Nottingham as a result of his injuries.
'We have no indication as to the ages of the men or as to what caused this explosion. There will be further forensic examinations taking place during the night.'
Neighbours say that the unit is one of four “lock-ups” which are rented out and that the blast may have been caused by the men brewing their own vodka.
The man who survived was described by witnesses as being on fire as he ran from the small industrial unit.
Police said investigators were keeping an “open mind and following up all relevant lines of inquiry.”
At this stage the police have no confirmed information as to who the deceased men may be and are working to establish their identities and to inform their families and friends.
The unit has been cordoned off and a full forensic examination of the scene has commenced with a view to establishing the cause of the explosion.
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