Mexico: 24 killed, 49 injured in fireworks explosions
Twenty-four people were killed and at least 49 injured today when a series of explosions ripped through fireworks workshops in a town just north of Mexico City. A video footage showed a massive plume of smoke rising from the area of the explosions in the town of Tultepec. Wrecked buildings and scorched ground covered a rural patch of modest homes and small farm plots.
Some of the victims are yet to be identified
The Mexican government said that eight people from Tultepec were killed, along with six emergency personnel and two others who have not yet been identified. The state government later raised the death toll to 24, but did not specify who the other victims were.
Firefighters, police, civil defense workers were killed
The first explosion occurred at 9.40am. First responders rushed to the scene to help rescue people. At 10am, three more explosions occurred, killing some of those who had come to help, said the government. Firefighters, local and state police and civil defense workers were among those injured. Mexico State civil defense said 17 people died at the scene and seven died later in hospitals.
Explosion started at an unauthorized, clandestine workshop
Luis Felipe Puente, Head of Mexico's civil defense agency, said the explosions started at an unauthorized, clandestine workshop. Many residents in the town make a living by fabricating and selling homemade fireworks, and explosions are a regular occurrence. But authorities have been unable to enforce safety regulations and registration requirements. "We cannot continue to allow this kind of situation," Puente said.
Previous incidents of fireworks explosion in Mexico
In June, seven people were killed and eight injured in a blast in Tultepec. In December 2016, a massive fire at an open-air fireworks market crowded with holiday shoppers killed several dozen people. In 2002, a blast at a market in Gulf city killed 29. In 1999, 63 people died when an explosion of illegally stored fireworks destroyed part of Celaya city.