Up to 30 Jewish people have been injured in Stamford Hill after a Lag Ba’Omer fire exploded when it was lit.
The Hatzolah ambulance service in Stamford Hill tweeted that it had sent a “mega response team” in response to the incident last night. It is understood that ten people were injured by the initial blast, while a further twenty were hurt as people fled from the explosion. The website Yeshiva World reported that spectators fled in "shrieks and panic" after the blast.
Reports suggest that the explosion may have been caused by the fuel which had been thrown on the bonfire prior to lighting, or by a number of smartphones which had been placed on the bonfire. The religious authorities of the strictly orthodox Jewish community in the area are resolutely against the use of smartphones or any phones with internet capability, believing them to be a gateway to the wider licentious world.
Earlier this evening we provided a mega response team to a major incident as a result of a fire explosion, alongside @Ldn_Ambulance@LAS_HART & @lfbhackney, Multiple patients were treated. pic.twitter.com/I7q0GQ14Z8— Hatzola (@Hatzola) May 2, 2018
Orthodox Jews have the custom to light bonfires on Lag Ba'Omer, with the festival said to mark the anniversary of the death of a great sage, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai. A supernatural flame was said to have illuminated his bedside until he passed away, with the bonfires commemorating that flame.
Hackney Police said: ‘Ten individuals suffered minor injuries following large fire lit as part of local Jewish community celebration in Ravensdale Road, Stamford Hill. No criminal allegations reported. No serious injuries.’