One dead and another seriously injured after explosion at defence firm factory

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An explosion at a defence firm’s factory near Salisbury has killed one person and left another in a critical condition.

Fire broke out at the Chemring Countermeasures facility on Friday evening after the blast in a flare manufacturing building.

The blaze was later extinguished as emergency services contained the incident.

Wiltshire Police said it was investigating the explosion with health and safety officers, and reassured the public that they faced no further risk.

The firm said it had also launched a “full and immediate” investigation.

A police spokesman said: “The ambulance service contacted Wiltshire Police and Dorset and Wiltshire Fire and Rescue Service just after 5pm today following reports of an explosion at the Chemring Countermeasures plant on High Post Road, Netton.

“Six fire crews were in attendance. Two were from Salisbury and the rest from Andover, Fordingbridge, Pewsey and Cranbourne and were supported by the incident command vehicle from Devizes.

“An initial fire on site has been extinguished. We have two casualties that have been identified.

“One of them sadly died at the scene and the other has been taken to hospital in a critical condition.”

No further details of the casualties were released and police were yet to inform next of kin on Friday night.

The spokesman added: “The incident has been contained and there is no risk to people in the local area.

“Wiltshire Police and the Health and Safety Executive will now be leading the investigation into the cause of the incident.”

With around 2,600 employees worldwide, Chemring Countermeasures produces flares, chaff and decoys to protect military and civilian air and sea platforms, the company’s website says.

It has also designed countermeasure systems for the Eurofighter Typhoon fighter jet.

The firm’s business director, Andy Hogben, said in a statement: “Chemring Group PLC confirms that at approximately 5pm on Friday August 10 an incident occurred in a flare manufacturing building at the Chemring Countermeasures factory near Salisbury.

“There has been one fatality and one employee is currently receiving treatment in hospital.

“The site was immediately evacuated and the incident brought under control. The emergency services are in attendance.

“Chemring has launched an investigation into the cause of the incident. The thoughts and support of Chemring Group are with the families at this time.”

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