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Fireworks set off at Oxford nightclub

Exclusive: 'Large fireworks' set off in Bridge nightclub linked to Oxford University students
Tom Beardsworth on Friday 15th February 2013

Oxford students were responsible for setting off fireworks at The Bridge nightclub last Thursday, it has been alleged.

A student witness in the smoking area of Bridge told Cherwell that he saw “a flare-like firework fall into the corridor towards Anuba [an adjacent ‘pre-bar’ to Bridge]. It fizzed for a bit and then zipped off – there was lots of smoke but I didn’t hear anything. I then saw two guys dragged out and interrogated by who I think was the owner of Bridge.”

Bridge general manager Phil Davidson told Cherwell that “the two names that were given to us as being involved” were Orme Alexander Clarke and Felix Goodman. Clarke, 20, allegedly a member of the Bullingdon Club, is a second-year PPEist at St Benet’s Hall, while Goodman, 19, is a second-year at Christ Church.

Davidson claimed that the two individuals were apprehended and ejected from the club. He told Cherwell, “Two males were apprehended and later removed from the premises. Two large fireworks were lit and then thrown into the smoking area which was busy with fellow students.

“The individuals were held and then dealt with by police who were called to attend. We did find out the identity of the male who threw the firework.”

Thames Valley Police declined to confirm the names but issued a statement about the incident, stating that “Police were called at 12.20am on Friday 8th February, to reports [that] a man was setting off fireworks in the smoking area of The Bridge nightclub, Hythe Bridge Street.

“No one was injured and no property had been damaged. A 20-year-old man was given an £80 Fixed Penalty Notice for letting off a firework in a public place.”

The Royal Society for the Prevention of Accidents maintains guidelines on firework safety, including instructions to “keep naked flames, including cigarettes, away from fireworks” and to “direct any rocket fireworks well away from spectators.” It notes that it is against the law to set off or throw fireworks (including sparklers) in the street or other public places.

A second-year who was at Bridge that evening claimed that the incident was “clearly a prank gone wrong” but insisted, “The act doesn’t seem to have been malicious. No one was hurt, nothing was broken, and most of the people at Bridge that evening – myself included – didn’t even notice it.

“I only found out about it happening when I left and saw a police car parked outside. We should put this all in perspective and give them a break.”

However, another student said that she thought “it a was morally reprehensible and disgusting joke considering what happened in the Brazilian nightclub.”

Last month 240 people were killed in a nightclub fire, started by a flare or firework in a club in Santa Maria, Brazil, which one of the band members lit whilst performing live on stage.

Clarke and Goodman did not respond to Cherwell's requests for comment.

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