At least 29 people were killed and 70 others injured in an explosion at a fireworks market in Tultepec on the northern outskirts of Mexico City on Tuesday afternoon (local time). “We recovered 26 bodies at the scene of the incident. And three more have died in the hospital, for a total of 29 dead,” said Governor Eruviel Avila, according to AFP.
Head of Tultepec emergency services Isidro Sanchez said the blast may have been caused because of insufficient security measures. He added that the toll may rise.
The blast took place when the San Pabilto fireworks market was abuzz with people shopping for Christmas and New Year. The explosion gutted stalls and charred their metal scaffoldings, reported AP. Local TV videos showed people scurrying for shelter. The cause of the explosion is being investigated.
While firefighters doused the blaze, the Mexican Red Cross sent 10 ambulances with 50 paramedics to the spot. National Civil Protection Coordinator Luis Felipe Puente told a local channel that a few nearby houses were also damaged. He asked people not to come within five kilometres of the spot.
“I offer my condolences to the relatives of those who lost their lives in this accident and my wishes for a speedy recovery for the injured,” President Enrique Pena Nieto tweeted. Mexico State Governor Eruviel Avila told Foro TV, “Mexico is in mourning.”
This is the third explosion in the market since 2005. A blast in the Tultepec fireworks market in September, 2005 left scores of people injured. A year later, another explosion struck the area.