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5 killed in fireworks accidents in Europe

January 1, 2015

BERLIN (AP) — Authorities say five people have been killed and dozens injured in separate fireworks accidents across Europe as people celebrated the New Year.

Danish police say that three people were killed in two fireworks accidents in the north of the country. Two others were injured.

Police said they believe the incidents occurred during the firing of powerful fireworks through tube launchers. It was not clear if the accidents late Wednesday, both in the Mariager Fjord Municipality, were connected.

German police said a 19-year-old man was killed early Thursday in Striegistal in the eastern state of Saxony when he tried to ignite unauthorized firecrackers. Another man was severely injured in the accident. Supermarkets in Germany sell authorized fireworks for New Year’s celebrations that are supposed to conform to certain safety standards, but illegally sold fireworks do not match these standards and often lead to accidents.

Another man was killed in Alveslohe in northern Germany. The 18-year-old was hit on the head by a firecracker.

A 9-year-old boy in Alsfeld in Hesse was injured on the neck when a man tried to fire a illumination rocket with a gun, while a 23-year-old man in Gardelegen in Saxony-Anhalt lost four fingers when a firecracker exploded in his hands.

In Stuttgart in southwestern Germany, 39 people were injured when the underground garage of their building caught fire. All 92 residents had to be evacuated, nine were brought to the hospital for smoke poisoning and 30 others were treated for smoke inhalation on the scene.

Stuttgart police said they were still investigating the cause of the fire and it was not clear if it was caused by fireworks.

In Berlin, some 100 youths targeted police with fireworks in such force that police officers had to retreat for some time before they received backup and managed to rein in the crowd.

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