Explosion in Mexico fireworks market kills 36

21 Dec 2016 | Written by Mansi Motwani; Edited by Supriya
Mexico hit by another fireworks tragedy

On Tuesday in the north of Mexico city, a fireworks market exploded killing at least 36 people and injured 72.

The blast took place in Tultepec, 40 kilometres north of Mexico.

Three children who were severely burnt will be transferred to a hospital in Galveston, Texas in the United States.

Tultepec houses a major pyrotechnics industry.

In context: Mexico hit by another fireworks tragedy

Past instancesFireworks tragedies plague Mexico

Mexico has witnessed several deadly fireworks explosions over the last 2 decades.

In 1988, fireworks explosions in La Merced market of Mexico City killed at least 68 people.

In 2002, blasts at a market in Veracruz city killed 29.

In 2005, Tultepec fireworks market saw multiple explosions right before Independence day injuring scores; again a year later, the same market was flattened by explosions.

21 Dec 2016Explosion in Mexico fireworks market kills 36

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How Mexico's horrific blast unfolded?

DetailsHow Mexico's horrific blast unfolded?

The terrible accident happened in Mexico's largest fireworks market, San Pablito, where 300 stalls sell massive number of pyrotechnics.

Given that this is the busiest time of year for firework vendors, the market was packed with a large number of families and children shopping for year-end celebrations.

Suddenly, in quick succession a series of explosions ripped through stalls and spread through the entire market.

How bad was it?Aftermath of the fire

The blaze was so strong that fire crews had to wait for explosions to subside before they could start dousing it.

It took nearly three hours for the fire to be brought under control.

300 fireworks stalls were levelled; the fire severely damaged many homes and vehicles in the vicinity of the area.

Authorities delicately searched layers of charred roofs to look for survivors.

Speculation over cause of fire

According to a statement by the Attorney General's Office, the conflagration was sparked by "six pyrotechnic explosions" in a market stocked with 300 tonnes of fireworks. However speculations are rife that mishandling gunpowder or fireworks may have also been responsible.

What transpired?Rescue operation

According to government officials, in several cases, some victims were so badly burnt, they were impossible to identify.

Of the 72 who were injured, there were 37 men, 25 women and nearly 10 minors.

The military, that is responsible for issuing fireworks sales permits to vendors had been deployed to assist emergency crews and ferry the injured to hospitals, either by ambulance or helicopters.

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Victim identification difficult

Mexico state's governor Eruviel Avila said to local TV networks that only two victims, 1 man and a child, have been identified. Almost all bodies are in unidentifiable state due to severe burns therefore forensic experts are working on identification.