Five people have been killed in a blast at a fireworks factory in Sicily.

Rescue services said two other people were seriously injured when the blast occurred at the family-run factory in the town of Barcellona Pozzo di Gotto.

The 71-year-old wife of the owner of the factory was among the victims, and their son is in hospital.

Fireworks explosion
Five people were killed in the blast, which has been linked to welding being carried out inside the depot (Italian firefighters/AP)

Police say workers at the depot may have accidentally set off the explosion with welding equipment.

Safety at fireworks depots has been long debated in Italy, where the production of fireworks is often a family-run business.

Consumers association Codacons says 68 people have been killed in explosions at fireworks firms since 2000.