Around 30 attendees are said to have been injured during the annual Lag Ba’omer celebrations in northern London on Wednesday after the ceremonial bonfire exploded. It is believed that several attendees may have thrown smartphones into the flames, causing the massive explosion.

30 people injured during Jewish holiday

While jewish residents were enjoying the Lag Ba’omer celebrations on Wednesday night, the bonfire in northern London exploded after it was lit.

Haaretz reports that a huge response team arrived on the scene following the explosion and many attendees were treated for burns.

The incident happened in Stamford Hill as hundreds of Jewish people celebrated the holiday.

Several videos captured the scene as the bonfire was lit. The Hatzola Jewish ambulance service was called to the scene along with other ambulance services to treat the burn victims. Luckily none of the injuries were considered to be serious.

Hatzola reports that they had provided what they termed a "mega response team" to the scene of the explosion, working together with the London Fire Brigade, the London Ambulance Service, and London Ambulance Hart.

The bonfire was soaked in oil

The Telegraph reports that the bonfire was soaked in oil, which exploded when lit, sending a fireball into the crowd of attendees. It is believed that several attendees had possibly thrown smartphones onto the bonfire prior to the blast. Reportedly the attendees at the celebration fled screaming in panic following the explosion.

A video of the event and the explosion is included below.

What is the celebration all about?

According to Chabad.org, the Lag Ba'Omer celebrations celebrate the 33rd day of what is termed the Omer count. It is a festive occasion where bonfires, joyous events, and parades are held. In northern Israel, many people visit Meron, the burial place of the mystic and sage, Rabbi Shimon bar Yochai who died on that day. The Rabbi was the first to teach the Kabbalah or mystical dimensions of the Torah. On the day he died he requested that his disciples celebrate the day of his death as a day of joy.

A mourning period for those who died during a plague

The event also mourns the passing of people during a great plague and is thus observed as a mourning period with joyful activities. The event also has the theme of people loving and respecting each other. The customary celebrations involve spending time in the outdoors, celebrating the natural beauty of the earth.

Children are known to play with bows and arrows during the celebrations. In the evenings, bonfires are lit to recognize the mystical teachings being celebrated, while people sing and enjoy one another’s company.