05/11/2011 11:54 GMT | Updated 05/01/2012 05:12 GMT

M5 Crash: Community Faces Up To Motorway Disaster

People living in the communities close to where the devastating M5 motorway accident happened are struggling to come to terms with the devastation.

There is speculation that an annual firework display at nearby Taunton Rugby Club may have distracted drivers.

The club's ground is next to the M5 where the accident, which has killed at least seven people, happened. The display was taking place at the time.

Thick black smoke was generated by the large firework display at a time when mist or a light fog was beginning to emerge. A nearby smallholding also had a large bonfire which was generating black smoke.

Josie Gallimore, 60, and husband Brian, 61, live near the accident scene in a cottage in Hyde Lane, and viewed the devastation from a nearby bridge.

"It was about 11.30pm and there were helicopters and fire engines and a lot of noise," said Mrs Gallimore. "We didn't stay long because it was too disturbing. You could hear the cries of the little ones trapped in their cars. They had to remain in their cars with their families and apparently some were there for up to three and a half hours.

"We walked back home afterwards and we could hear the sirens going until about 2am. There were helicopters as well. I didn't sleep last night. I couldn't. It's a terrible tragedy."

She said in addition to the rugby club's firework display there was also a large bonfire in a nearby field.

A spokesman for Taunton Rugby Club said it was not prepared to make any comment regarding speculation about the cause of the accident.

Oli Massingham said: "The only thing I will say is that the firework display started at 8pm and finished at 8.15pm."